Area school teachers vote to strike on 29 May
23 May 2019
Teachers in area schools and wharekura have voted overwhelmingly to strike on Wednesday 29 May alongside their primary and secondary colleagues.
The nationwide strike is the largest education strike in New Zealand’s history and the first time all teachers in the compulsory schooling sector have taken strike action simultaneously.
Around 2300 teachers work in 136 area schools and wharekura around the country, teaching students from primary age through to secondary.
The teachers are jointly represented by NZEI Te Riu Roa and PPTA in collective agreement negotiations. The ballot to strike took place earlier this week after four days of talks over several weeks with the Ministry of Education failed to even result in an offer from the Ministry.
NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said area school teachers faced the same issues as their primary and secondary counterparts.
“Teachers need more time to teach, a significant pay jolt to attract people into the profession and more support for children with additional learning needs.”
PPTA President Jack Boyle said, “The issues facing area school teachers are the same as for every other teacher in New Zealand. Teachers are dealing with excessive workloads, long hours, unnecessary red tape and box ticking – and a salary that’s turning people away from the profession.”
Area school teacher Lagi Leilua is on the NZEI/PPTA negotiation team and said the Ministry’s failure to put forward an offer was disrespectful to area school teachers.
“Area school teachers are suffering unsustainable workloads and we need pay and conditions that will keep and attract people into the profession. We will be joining our primary and secondary colleagues on strike and in the streets on 29 May because we share the same issues and face the same challenges.”
There are 136 area schools in New Zealand. Most are kura kaupapa Māori or wharekura, in rural areas, or urban composite schools with students from primary to secondary.
Joint strike marches and rallies are being held nationwide. Details can be found at backtheteachers.co.nz