Kindergarten and primary school teachers will not strike next week, even as high school staff vote for further union action.
Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) Members are voting on whether or not to hold another strike day next Wednesday.
But the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) Te Riu Roa — which represents more than 45,000 preschool and primary school teachers and principals — will not join the protests if they are held on March 29.
Last week saw a whopping 50,000 kindergarten, primary and secondary school teachers organize joint protests across the country.
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Primary and secondary schools had to close because there were too few teachers to lead the normal classes, so many parents and carers had to work from home or take annual leave.
The two education unions are negotiating several collective labor agreements with the Ministry of Education (MoE), but have not yet reached a settlement on wages and working conditions.
The PPTA negotiating team (for the collective bargaining agreement for secondary teachers) met with the MoE on Friday for mediation and “progress” was being made on claims over working conditions.
However, PPTA members — more than 20,000 secondary school teachers — are being asked to consider further strike action following the publicity generated by last Thursday’s strike.
“(It) has certainly raised public awareness of some of the issues at stake in these collective agreement negotiations,” a PPTA statement to its members said.
“It is important that we continue to plan union action so that we continue to put pressure on the government.”
The PPTA’s electronic vote on further union action opened on Tuesday, but in news that will be welcomed by parents, the NZEI has ruled out kindergarten and primary school workers taking part in a potential strike next week.
In a statement to its members, the NZEI said that “negotiations on the collective labor agreement for primary education have been confirmed for next Wednesday (29 March)”.
“Although the talks just before the strike were worthwhile, no offer was made.
“The negotiating team will push for an offer that members can consider.”