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Urgent constructive action now essential

Urgent constructive action
now essential in teachers’ dispute - NZSTA

The New Zealand School Trustees Association is calling for urgent and constuctive action from all parties following the failure of the ratification of the secondary teachers’ pay offer.

NZSTA President, Chris France, says the failure of the second ratification attempt is very serious indeed.

“What we need now is extremely careful and level headed action by teachers and Government in the weeks ahead if a reasonable solution is to be found.

“We must simply get to a point where the Independent Ministerial Taskforce on Secondary Teacher Remuneration can complete its work in a tightly controlled time frame.”

At the same time, Chris France says it is clear that a full commission agreed by all the sector stakeholders should investigate and develop a far-sighted plan to resolve the wide range of issues underlying the last 14 months.

He says the non ratification of the most recent settlement reached between the PPTA and the Government is disappointing to boards of trustees and the parent community, and no doubt to the PPTA and the government.

“Negotiation of the collective agreement over the last 14 months has become increasingly fraught with periods of industrial unrest.

“It is a sad fact that this has been the pattern over the last 13 years of negotiations, and it is obviously time to consider whether a new approach should be taken to this.”

He says the industrial unrest has caused increasing disruption to students learning, and to the lives of the wider school community.

“Parents and school boards have been broadly supportive, and sympathetic of their teachers concerns over workload and conditions, and the increasing issue over retention and recruitment of teachers in the secondary service.”

Boards acceptance of the strike action by teachers is however increasingly being balanced now by their concern at lost learning time for their children. That is likely to be an increasing issue in the weeks ahead, says Chris France.

“The parties need to get back to the table quickly, but with some constructive ideas to start from.”

Chris France says the Government needs to commit to the Taskforce and the Commission and clarify its intentions.

And he says the PPTA needs to gain real clarity of what its members want and have the confidence to carry this to Government.

“But the practical reality may be that some schools, and their communities, will continue to face a level of industrial action.

“In the final analysis boards and their communities want to see the focus get back to teaching and our children with all the consequential impacts on NCEA and extra curricular activities. Government and PPTA must resolve this quickly.”


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