October 29, 2004
Primary Teachers And Principals Vote To Accept Agreements
Primary teachers have voted to accept new collective employment agreements negotiated by their union, NZEI Te Riu Roa, which provides them with classroom release time for the first time.
Negotiations with the Ministry began on June 30 and after 25 days of talks settlement was reached on September 17, at the end of Term Three. Teachers were briefed on the settlement at meetings throughout the country at the start of Term Four. A postal ballot has just been completed in which more than 90% of teachers voted to ratify the new agreement.
The new agreement covers 25,000 teachers working in primary and intermediate schools and is worth $420 million.
“Primary teachers have made some significant gains in their pay and working conditions in this set of negotiations,” says NZEI Te Riu Roa National President, Colin Tarr.
“Securing guaranteed classroom release time for the first time is an historic achievement that primary teachers can be proud of because it was achieved by standing together and making it clear that their workload had to be addressed.”
“This has been achieved by getting the government to agree to delivering hundreds of extra teachers to primary schools.”
“This will enable teachers to have time during the school day to step out of the classroom and do the lesson planning, student assessment and administrative work that they currently have to do after school or during the weekend,” say Colin Tarr.
The new agreement also addresses other major issues involving primary teachers qualifications, career paths for teachers and the need to support beginning teachers. It includes The provision of up to 800 extra teachers to deliver all full time primary teachers a guaranteed 10 hours of classroom release time a term, starting in Term Four next year.
Key aspects of the new primary teachers agreement continued. An 8.74% across the board pay rise over the three year term of the new agreement and a $500 payment for teachers covered by the collective when it was settled. The removal of the prejudice against primary teachers’ qualifications that blocked most of them from progressing to the top step of the pay scale they share with secondary teachers. The value of a unit, an annual payment for extra responsibilities, will increase from $3000 to $3500 by July 2006. The tutor teacher allowance will increase from $500 to $2000 at the start of 2006. The allowance for teachers in Normal Schools, which provide work experience for student teachers will rise from $1636 to $2000. Schools will receive a staffing allowance to support their second year teachers advice and guidance programme.
Primary principals have also accepted a new agreement negotiated by NZEI Te Riu Roa. The negotiations began at the same time as the primary teachers and settlement was reached on October 1. Again more than 90% of principals have voted to ratify the new agreement.
The new agreement covers 2000 principals working in primary and intermediate schools. It includes An 8.74% across the board pay rise over the three year term of the new agreement A 21% increase in the supplementary formula over the three years of the agreement. This is the payment each principal receives based on the number of teachers in their school. An annual payment of $2000 for principals who have had three years service at their current “U” grade. The “U” grade is based on the number of students at their school. 40 one term paid sabbatical leave positions.