Primary teachers vote for settlement, but disappointed principals reject their offer

26 June 2019

Primary teachers have voted to ratify a  proposed settlement  that will give them pay parity with their secondary colleagues, but disappointed primary principals have rejected a settlement that was unchanged from a previously rejected offer.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said the outcome was a big win for teachers, who had campaigned alongside principals for 18 months and held three strike days - including New Zealand's largest ever strike alongside their secondary colleagues.

"I am so proud of our teachers for their steadfast collective action in this campaign over a very long period of time," she said.

"I also particularly want to thank parents and the wider public - their support was incredible in this campaign - and their backing of teachers was critical to us achieving the breakthrough we needed."

"We didn’t get everything we wanted for teachers, but we made substantial progress. We've secured pay parity through a unified pay scale across the state schooling sector. We've won a significant pay increase for primary teachers. We've addressed longstanding barriers to pay progression for teachers with different qualifications. We've won eight teacher only days and a reduction in some of the more burdensome appraisal requirements." 

"We also got a commitment from government to work on the outstanding issues of wellbeing and workload – the accord will enable us to work with the government and hold them to account on these issues," said Ms Stuart.

"Crucially, while teachers have won parity with their secondary counterparts, the Government did not offer primary principals parity with their secondary principal colleagues. That clearly isn’t fair, so they have voted to fight on for a better offer."

"Primary principals have incredibly complex jobs, and we have significant issues in our smaller schools, particularly our rural schools and kura. We also have a very high number of first time principals, as experienced hands have left the profession," said Ms Stuart.

NZEI Te Riu Roa is urgently seeking a return to the negotiating table in order to resolve the principals' issues, and in the meantime will actively consult with principal members on next steps.

The primary teachers' new agreement will come into force from 1 July, with a three-month delay in the new terms and conditions for non-members. Teachers who were members of NZEI Te Riu Roa on 13 June 2019 will also receive a one-off pro rata payment of $1500.


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