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Public Support Encouraging

1 March 2002

Public support for striking secondary teachers was very positive and encouraging, PPTA president Jen McCutcheon said.

Secondary teachers walked off the job today in protest at the lack of a settlement of their collective agreement. They rejected a package taken to them last month.

Reports from members participating in industrial action around the country were very positive.

“Our members have had a very successful day out on the picket lines. From the sausage sizzles in the Wairarapa to the rally in Auckland, the industrial action has been a success. The level of public support has also been amazing. Our members reported lots of people in cars tooting in support as they drove past pickets. There has also been a lot of support from principals and boards of trustees and we very much appreciate it.”

“Unfortunately all this support seems to have gone over the top of Education Minister Trevor Mallard’s head. He is still in denial about the crisis facing secondary education and the level of concern about it.”

“We will continue negotiations with the Ministry of Education next Tuesday and Wednesday and despite Mr Mallard saying that there is no claim on the table, the negotiators have the situation well under control.”

Mr Mallard’s statement that 1 percent more pay would cost $25 million simply reflects the cost of the Government’s pay parity policy. Only $8 million of that would go to secondary teachers. It’s time Mr Mallard stopped playing with numbers and started relaying the fact, Mrs McCutcheon said.

Ends

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