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School Students The Losers In Industrial Strife

26 March 2002

The Education Minister seems to have forgotten those suffering most from his bitter wrangle with secondary school teachers - thousands of New Zealand school children, says National's Industrial Relations spokesperson, Simon Power.

"This dispute is now into its 11th month and secondary students around the country are losing week after week of vital study time to industrial action.

"It's absurd that after all this time, the talks have limped to an impasse, with the Minister refusing to meet with the PPTA because of wildcat strikes by a group of Auckland teachers.

"What's this doing to the thousands of secondary students who are watching their schooling fall victim to a bitter pay row? The secondary education sector is rapidly becoming a shambles at the hands of Trevor Mallard.

"Let's not forget this is happening in an environment where the Government has promoted legislation advocating good faith bargaining. The good faith approach is surely to sit down together to try and solve the issue, not to duck for cover.

"If Trevor Mallard thinks that using the school holidays as a bargaining chip will give him more time, he's hardly acting in good faith. He raised these teachers' expectations about what to expect - now he should deliver," says Mr Power.


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