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National will put new teachers on trial

21 October 2008 Media Statement

National will put new teachers on fire-at-will trial

Labour's spokesman on labour relations and Hutt South MP Trevor Mallard today called on National Party leader John Key to confirm that new teachers and support staff in small schools and early childhood education centres would be able to be sacked at will in their first three months on the job under National party policy.

Trevor Mallard's comments follow major contradictions by National's education spokesperson AnneTolley and their industrial relations spokeswoman Kate Wilkinson in recent election debates. (Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ir2anqvJ-Dc)

"I will also be asking National's Hutt South candidate Paul Quinn to explain the policy when we appear at the NZEI Hutt Valley branch candidates forum tonight," Trevor Mallard said.

"The 90-day rule is not supposed to apply to teachers because they are…there is concern for teaching being involved in that and I understand that,'' Anne Tolley told one forum.

"I don’t know what Mrs Tolley said. I’m saying what our policy is and our policy says that workplaces which employ less than 20 people, we are wanting to implement a trial period," Kate Wilkinson told another forum.

"National MPs are following John Key's lead - they say different things depending on who the audience is, in order to please whoever happens to be listening. This is shifty behaviour on the part of a party that thinks it can govern. And it shows that National can not be trusted," Trevor Mallard said.

"Being able to get rid of young and new teachers who are fresh on the job during a three month trial period is a ludicrous situation in a time of significant teacher shortages. It is a total turnoff for enthusiastic graduates keen to get their first teaching position, it's a turnoff for teachers wanting to move to a new school –and its bad news for our kids.

"Under National's Fire at Will policy, workers in small workplaces can be sacked during a three month trial period – without any workplace protections. It's a particularly savage policy for low income and vulnerable workers and gives people absolutely no job security. Why won't John Key tell the truth and tell teachers and schools and early childhood education centres what will happen to them and their children under his ruthless policy," Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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