Primary school teachers reject 3rd offer from Education Ministry

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
May 12, 2023 |

Primary school teachers have voted to reject their 3rd offer from the Ministry of Education. 

The offer included a $4000 increase to trained teacher salaries backdated to 1 Dec 2022, a further 3% or $2000 increase to salaries on 1 Dec 2023, and a further increase of 2 – 3.3% Dec 2024, lifting the top of pay scale to $100,000- a $10,000 pay increase. By 2 December 2024, all trained teacher base salaries will increase between 10.54% -13.92%.

Lead negotiator for the Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement negotiation team, Barb Curran, said the vote reflected primary teachers’ frustration that the pressures they are facing in the classroom and from the cost of living crisis were not being adequately recognised by the Government. 

She said the negotiation team would now be informing the Ministry of Education that it wanted to resume negotiations.

“This offer clearly did not meet members’ expectations sufficiently to settle our agreement. They want an offer that swiftly delivers additional time and staffing to enable teachers to support students.

And they want a pay offer that will pay the bills, having seen no pay rise since July 2021 while the CPI has increased at record levels.” 

Primary teachers have been facing many challenges for decades: high student numbers, lack of support for tamariki with complex learning needs, shortages of relievers and beginning teachers, and a lack of non-contact time. The curriculum refresh has added to the pressure.  

Barb Curran said the announcement to reduce teacher to student ratios in years 4-8 from 1:29 to 1:28 by 2025 was welcome, but teacher reaction was that it was too little and not fast enough. 

“The issue with high teacher to student ratios has been recognised by the Minister, but staffing issues have been going on for decades and we need to see commitments to a plan for much more meaningful class size reductions as swiftly as possible.”

She said that the fact that teachers had been negotiating since July last year was not helping members feel valued. 

“Members are feeling frustrated with the lack of progress, they’ve been almost a year without a signed agreement now because of the slow pace of negotiations.” 

Members will now be surveyed to see what action they want to take next.

“It is up to the members to decide what they want to do next. They’re clearly unhappy with the offer,” said Curran. 

Area school teachers joined their PPTA secondary school colleagues at rolling strikes this week across New Zealand as a result of a lack of progress in their negotiations.   

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Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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