16 July 2002
Don't Panic Mr Mallard - Settle!
If the Government wanted a smooth ride into this election, it should have resolved pressing problems in the secondary education sector 16 months ago, PPTA president Jen McCutcheon said today.
"If the Minister of Education had addressed our valid concerns - backed up by principals and boards around the country - behind our original claim in April last year he would not be needing to panic now. The Government could choose to settle this dispute tonight; there is no cause for panic."
Mr Mallard has written to the PPTA today asking the Executive to call off industrial action due to begin tomorrow (Wednesday). The action was called on because of insufficient progress in negotiations during the term break.
"The Government had our revised claim on the table in June - it knew then what it would take to settle this protracted dispute. The ball was firmly in its court. However, instead of opting to settle this dispute which has dragged on far too long for everyone, the Government chose to make us another unacceptable offer."
Mrs McCutcheon said the Executive's management committee would tonight approve terms of reference for a proposed arbitration process and information would be sent to secondary schools immediately afterwards. "We are giving members five days to absorb the information, hold a meeting and vote on whether they are for or against such a process. That is as fast as we can go.
"Until we get the results back, we have no mandate to change the current course of action. But we are telling members that if the results indicate a clear preference for entering arbitration, then the rostering home action and the strike scheduled for 26 July will be reviewed.