Area school teachers vote to join strike

Lynda Stuart
Lynda Stuart
Otago and Southland area school and Maori-immersion school (wharekura) teachers have voted overwhelmingly to strike on May 29, alongside their primary and secondary colleagues.

The nationwide strike is the largest education strike in New Zealand's history and the first time all teachers in the compulsory schooling sector have taken strike action simultaneously.

Teachers at Columba College, Lawrence Area School, Maniototo Area School, Roxburgh Area School and The Catlins Area School are among 2300 teachers at 136 area schools nationwide, which educate pupils from years 1 to 13.

They are under a different contract from primary and secondary school teachers but are still represented by the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) and Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) unions in collective agreement negotiations with the Ministry of Education.

NZEI president Lynda Stuart said the ballot to strike took place earlier this week after four days of talks over several weeks with the Ministry of Education failed to result in an offer from the ministry.

Ms Stuart said area school teachers faced the same issues as their primary and secondary counterparts.

"Teachers need more time to teach, a significant pay jolt to attract people into the profession and more support for children with additional learning needs."

Joint strike marches and rallies will be held nationwide.

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