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Teachers Show Lack Of Good Faith Says NZSTA

The New Zealand School Trustees Association has hit out at secondary school teachers’ lack of good faith in bargaining by planning a strike before even going back to the negotiating table.

“We are supposed to be negotiating under a “good faith” environment but it is difficult to see how a “good faith” requirement can be met when industrial action is undertaken or planned even before the parties actually met to try and resolve the PPTA claim,” NZSTA President Chris France says.

“With talks on the secondary teachers’ claim commencing today, it is difficult to understand why industrial action is set for tomorrow,” he says.

“It is disappointing that students, schools, and school communities are again being disadvantaged by secondary teachers undertaking strike action when talks to attempt to break the current impasse are already underway,” says Chris France.

The clear focus should be on finding quick solutions to an ongoing problem rather than an announcing immediate plans for further disruptions even prior to resuming dialogue - in the Association’s view hardly a “good faith” act.

“We do of course welcome the resumption of talks,” he says, “but it is critical that the board’s ability to staff the school is not compromised in any new proposal the Government offers to the PPTA.”

Chris France says the Minister’s commitment to pull forward staffing delivery is seen as a constructive initiative, and one that should not be degraded in any way.

He says early results of an NZSTA staffing survey show that secondary boards are generally managing to adequately staff their schools, and deal with areas of staffing difficulties.

However there are some schools in a tight staffing situation and it would be silly for any of the negotiating parties to compromise on staffing improvements at a time when it is known that staffing will undoubtedly tighten further in the near future.

“We urge the government and PPTA to move quickly to settle the current situation and allow schools to get back to the job of delivering quality educational outcomes in the best interests of the country’s students.”

[ends]

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