From NZEI Te Riu Roa
Friday October 27, 2006
For Immediate Use
Primary Teachers and Principals Attending Union Meetings
More than 20,000 primary teachers and principals throughout the country are attending more than 200 paid union meetings in school time.
The two hour meetings begin on Monday (October 30) and run for three weeks until Friday November 17.
They’ve been organised by NZEI Te Riu Roa as part of the preparation for next year’s negotiations to renew two collective employment agreements, one covering 25,300 primary teachers and the other covering 1930 primary principals.
“We are holding the meetings in school time to ensure that all primary teachers and principals are able to attend,” says NZEI Te Riu Roa National President, Irene Cooper.
Under the Employment Relations Act 2000, every union member in the country is entitled to attend two paid union meetings a year, in work time, to discuss important issues.
“The issues we’ll be discussing at the meetings are extremely important,” says Irene Cooper.
“We’ll be updating teachers and principals on long term work that an NZEI team has been progressing with the Ministry of Education and the School Trustees Association since 2004.”
This is known as the Long Term Work Programme (LTWP) which is addressing big issues such as the teachers’ workload and their career structure. NZEI, the Ministry and the School Trustees Association (STA) agreed to establish the LTWP when they negotiated the current teachers’ and principals collective agreement in 2004.
“Finding ways to ease teachers’ huge workload and developing new career pathways for teachers are clearly major issues,” says Irene Cooper. “That’s why it’s essential teachers and principals attend these paid union meetings.”
NZEI Te Riu Roa has organised the 210 paid union meetings to maximise attendance and to minimise disruption to schools.
“The union has given each school’s board of trustees six weeks notice of these meetings,” says Irene Cooper. “So schools have been given plenty of time to make arrangements to ensure any disruption to students and their families and whanau is kept to an absolute minimum.”