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The Ministry of Education's latest collective agreement offer appears to be receiving a tentative, but positive, reaction from Otago primary and intermediate school principals.
The new proposed settlement includes an entrenchment of pay parity with secondary principals.
New Zealand Educational Institute members will discuss the offer at paid union meetings around the country this week and vote in an online ballot from August 15-19.
Otago Primary Principals' Association chairman and Elmgrove School principal Chris McKinlay said he was pleased there had been some movement in the negotiations.
"It feels like this has been quite a long process and there has been no real movement for principals ... there's just been quite a lot of silence, or the same offer coming back to principals.
"Looking at the offer initially, my personal feeling is that I'm really pleased that they have put some pay parity in there with secondary teachers on the base scales. That is a positive.''
However, he was aware of some concerns in the sector that the new offer did not appear to address the issue of small-school principals and those with one or two years' experience being paid less than senior teachers.
"That's something that we're going to need more information around.
"Pay parity was a big sticking issue and they have at least acknowledged that, but I think we need to have big discussions around the accord and timelines for that before principals can go to a vote.''
Balmacewen Intermediate principal Andrew Hunter said given the process had stretched on for so long, voting on whether to accept or decline the offer would be close.
"There might have been a low expectation that much was going to come back from the Government. So the fact that something positive has come back, it will be viewed pretty positively.
"The entrenchment clause with secondary, I think, is crucial.
"I think principals would like to move on. It takes time and energy to keep dealing with unresolved contract issues. We've got better things to do.
"So it could be quite a close vote.
"I'll be watching with interest.''
The ministry has proposed a settlement date of August 26 if members vote to accept the offer.
Ministry of Education’s offer to primary and intermediate principals:
- Pay parity with secondary principals across the roll, staffing and decile components of remuneration, entrenched through a unified pay system.
- Principals of the smallest U1 grade schools rolled into the U2 grade on the pay scale.
- Additional funding to ensure at least two adults in every school during the school day.
- Beyond an initial increase to achieve parity, there is a 3% per annum pay increase for three years on the roll and staffing components of remuneration.
- A one-off $1500 (before tax) payment to NZEI members.
- An annual $300,000 professional development fund for primary principals.