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Teachers rally at Parliament in support of strike on education crisis

stadium-teachers
Striking teachers at Westpac Stadium. Photo: RNZ

News from NZEI Te Riu Roa
About 29,000 primary teachers, principals and their supporters are taking to the streets in public events around New Zealand today. In Wellington there was a gathering at Westpac Stadium at 11am, followed by a march along the concourse to Parliament for a rally starting at midday.

Teachers and principals voted for a full day strike today to send a strong message to the Government that the current collective agreement offers from the Ministry of Education would not fix the crisis in teaching.

“There needs to be better investment in education so every child can reach their potential and we have enough teachers for every class”, said NZEI Te Riu Roa lead principal negotiator Louise Green.

There needs to be a substantive change in the Ministry’s offer in subsequent negotiations.

In collective agreement negotiations, principals and teachers had asked for more time to teach and lead, more support for children with additional learning needs and a pay jolt to stem the growing teacher shortage.

Instead, the vast majority of teachers (about 86%) are being offered a pay rise ranging from about 2.2-2.6% a year for three years, and just 12 minutes extra a week of time to work individually with children or plan and assess learning.

The offer was far from the 16% over two years that members had identified as being necessary to address recruitment and retention issues that had grown during the term of the previous National government. The request to fund a Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) in every school to assist children with additional learning needs was also ignored.

Today’s action is the first strike by educators in 24 years.

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