7 November 2002
A breathtaking breach of good faith
The Education Minister’s unwillingness to reconvene the arbitration panel to settle a dispute over degree equivalent teachers was a breathtaking breach of good faith and placed in jeopardy any hopes for a settled start to the 2003 school year, PPTA president Jen McCutcheon said today.
“Trevor Mallard’s decision not to call back the panel is incredible given his government’s commitment earlier this year to be bound by its findings.
“He is effectively kicking G3 non degree teachers and G3 equivalent teachers for touch by saying the Ministerial Taskforce on Secondary Teacher Remuneration will consider their pay status.”
Mrs McCutcheon said it was not the place of the Ministerial Taskforce to consider the technical issues of the collective agreement.
She said the Taskforce would not be able to resolve the issue prior to the 5 February deadline for the introduction of the new pay step as it would not meet until after that date and its findings probably wouldn’t be known before the end of October 2003.
“The arbitration panel was quite clear that arrangements the Ministry of Education and its predecessor the Department of Education entered into with G3 non degree teachers and G3 equivalent teachers should be honoured.
“The panel quite clearly established a process for resolving this issue prior to 5 February 2003 when the new salary step comes into effect. As part of that process it said it would be prepared to reconvene to resolve the issue if the Ministry and PPTA were unable to come to an agreement. “
Mrs McCutcheon said a clear pathway was available and it should be taken without delay.
“If the meeting of the arbitration panel over a matter of hours or a day to clarify its intentions can resolve this issue, why is the Minister sitting on his hands?”