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Views Of Boards Needed Over Law Change

Media Release

Views Of Boards Needed Over Law Change – Says NZSTA

The New Zealand School Trustees Association says it will be asking for the views of its member schools about a Government proposal to change the law relating to industrial disputes in schools.

The Minister of Education Trevor Mallard has just announced that proposed law changes will give the Secretary for Education the power to suspend striking board employees such as teachers, to deduct pay and to lock them out during disputes.

NZSTA President Chris France says the legislation changes would take decisions on these matters out of the hands of boards.

“Over the past ten years boards have often found themselves the meat in the sandwich – they are observers in the negotiations then required to take action against staff when there is a strike action.”

But he says while many boards will readily understand why the government is proposing the change; others may be concerned about the impact on their role as employers.

“We expect there is likely to be some mixed feelings out there.

“While many boards will understand the need for change there also needs to be absolute certainty that this is not the thin end of the wedge regarding the boards’ employer role.

“The strength of our system is boards managing schools on behalf of communities and we would not want to see the government reducing the powers and responsibilities that go with that.”

Chris France says the NZSTA will be seeking the view of boards round the country to be included in a formal submission to a select committeee that will consider the proposal.

Ends

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