December 13, 2005
Kindergarten Teachers Want The Govt To Recognise Their Concerns
The kindergarten teachers' negotiating team met today and was surprised to hear the Ministry of Education stating that their negotiations for a new collective employment had been not broken down but had simply been adjourned.
"Our message to the Government is clear, the talks have broken down," says NZEI Te Riu Roa National President, Colin Tarr. "The Ministry did send us an offer late this afternoon but it fails to address the concerns expressed by kindergarten teachers and parents about maintaining education quality in kindergartens."
"So we remain in the same position. The Ministry of Education and the kindergarten associations are still trying to impose working conditions on the teachers, that if implemented, would undermine the quality of education provided to 45,000 children enrolled in the country's kindergartens."
"The teachers recognize that in some parts of the country there are parents who want or need kindergartens to be open for longer hours," says Colin Tarr. "But they also recognize there are many parents who want to retain sessional education for their children."
"The negotiations began in August, and the teachers and NZEI have said all along that they are prepared to negotiate working conditions that enable kindergartens to meet the diverse needs of parents, in terms of the hours that kindergartens are open."
"But what we've also said all along, is that teachers are not prepared to accept working conditions that would compromise the quality of education that children receive at a kindergarten, regardless of the kindergarten's hours of operation," says Colin Tarr.
"Because the kindergarten year is drawing to close, NZEI has ruled out teachers taking any further industrial action before Christmas," says Colin Tarr
Teachers throughout the country will, however, be sending Christmas cards to the Government expressing their significant concerns about their employers' current demands.
NZEI will continue to monitor developments in the dispute. Further industrial action by kindergarten teachers has not been ruled out, if no settlement is reached between now and the re-opening of kindergartens following the Christmas /New Year break.