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Get back to the table - Greens

26 March 2002

The Government should get back into immediate talks with teachers regardless of ongoing strike action, Green Party Industrial Relations spokesperson Sue Bradford said today.

"I am surprised and disappointed that Education Minister Trevor Mallard has called off pay talks because of the wildcat strikes in Auckland.

"A Labour/Alliance Government should understand the desperation and the real grievances behind the industrial action, and keep talking through it. By calling off the pay talks, the Minister is deliberately putting teachers under more pressure which is the last thing they need."

Ms Bradford said the wildcat strikes are only in Auckland, and showed that teachers there have been affected by shortages and are justifiably desperate.

"As a mother of teenagers, I know how hard teachers work to keep a classroom full of teenagers interested and learning.

"It's a pity that teachers have been forced to take industrial action to get the Government to recognise that a pay rise is long overdue.

"The Labour/Alliance Government took so much pride in passing the new employment legislation, which includes the right to strike over employment contracts. But they are showing another face now they find themselves on the employer side of a dispute."

Ends

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