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Ongoing Trouble Regardless Of Teacher Vote

9 June 2002

"Secondary education will remain in crisis regardless of tomorrow's PPTA vote on the latest pay offer," says National Leader Bill English.

"Neither a 'yes' nor 'no' vote will solve this mess. Even if the latest deal is ratified, the resentment among teachers is so deep there could still be rolling wildcat strikes."

Mr English says if the deal is rejected, schools will be subject to escalating disruption from teachers.

"Labour and Helen Clark have blamed the PPTA for not selling the package properly and teachers for not understanding the deal. But teachers have worked out for themselves that 7 percent inflation over 3 years is bigger than the 5.5 percent pay increase offered and that this deal amounts to a real pay cut for secondary teachers.

"Labour has put its own political interests ahead of students, parents and teachers who need a comprehensive solution."

Mr English says this deal was hatched-up by Helen Clark to avoid any political embarrassment at Labour's election year congress.

"It was foolish of Labour to proceed with the biggest change in school qualifications for 50 years without teacher support. It is foolish for Labour to introduce pay parity between secondary and kindergarten teachers this July. "

He says it has been a litany of bad Government decisions that has got things into this mess.

"Helen Clark has become very proficient at giving out apologies for previous Governments. She should apologise to teachers for the insulting pay offers made by her Government and to the 330,000 pupils whose education and qualifications have been disrupted by her Government's inept management of the teacher pay negotiations," Mr English concluded.


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