Secondary teachers challenge Education Minister

The Post Primary Teachers Association, representing secondary teachers, has rejected the Education Ministry’s pay offer in a vote on October 2, 2018.

Delegates to the Union’s annual Conference in Wellington have voted this afternoon against an offer of pay rises ranging between 2% to 3% a year for three years.

People at the Conference said the offer was insulting and missed the reality of the teacher shortage.

Government under pressure

It was not clear what industrial action might follow a no vote, but a rejection will put more pressure on the government, which is facing a possible strike by primary school teachers in November.

Earlier today, the secondary teachers Union challenged the Education Minister, Chris Hipkins, to put his money where his mouth is.

Mr Hipkins told the Conference the teacher shortage was top of his list of problems to deal with, but the government could not solve it overnight.

He said that the problem would never be fixed if teachers told those considering the career it was not a good job.

“While I understand your frustration that things have reached this point, we won’t turn it around, possibly ever, if the message our prospective future teachers get from today’s teachers is that it’s a profession not worth joining,” he said.

Changes introduced

Mr Hipkins emphasised changes the government had already made in education and the impact of poverty on children’s achievement.

He said the government could not undo nine years of neglect in one year and urged teachers to work in partnership with the government to improve the education system.

Union vice-president Melanie Webber told Mr Hipkins that he had been a friend of the Union but now it was time to put his money where his mouth was.

She said a correction was desperately needed to solve the teacher shortage.

Earlier, PPTA President Jack Boyle, told the Conference that the Union wanted to negotiate a collective agreement settlement that would make teaching a popular career choice and give children the education they deserved.

He said that teachers’ jobs had intensified in the past eight years, but the resources to support them had been squeezed tighter.

Mr Boyle dismissed as lies any suggestion that teachers did not deserve a pay rise or that the government did not have enough money to provide a large increase.

Photo :

  1. PPTA delegates applaud the comments of Union president Jack Boyle 

(RNZ Picture by John Gerritsen)

  1. Education Minister Chris Hipkins (Picture for RNZ by Richard Tindiller)

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