Solidarity called for in teacher pay talks

Teachers everywhere need to have the same mindset if the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers’ Association is to achieve its goal of increased pay and reduced workloads, North Otago secondary school staff heard yesterday.

More than 60 staff from Waitaki Boys’ High School, Waitaki Girls’ High School and St Kevin’s College met at the college’s auditorium on Tuesday to discuss upcoming collective agreement negotiations with the Government.

They also voted on core claims and what process would be used to develop other elements of those claims, before further meetings later this month to discuss other claims.

Pay rates and workloads were two key aspects of the negotiations, association executive committee member for the Aoraki region Miles Winter said, before the meeting was closed to media and the public.

"We must make the job manageable and the remuneration competitive ... keeping up with inflation just isn’t cutting it."

A 15% pay increase for a term of one year and additional increases of 3.8% for each additional year were sought by the association.

Mr Winter said since 2004 teaching had "clearly become less financially rewarding".

Increased remuneration would go some way to solving issues that included a shortage of teachers by aiding in the recruitment of new teachers and retaining experienced staff, he said.

In relation to workload, it was proposed that non-contact time for teachers increase from five to six hours a week, which would increase depending on how many permanent units a teacher had been assigned.It was also proposed that one Maori and Pasifika community liaison role be created at a ratio of one per 100 pupils from those ethnicities.

Mr Winter said the association’s proposals would benefit the education sector in the future and teachers needed to be "on the same page" if the negotiations were to be successful, but to "plan for the worst and hope for the best".

"The big challenge is, what we want costs money and we all know there is not a lot of that going around. We are all in this together and united, we are formidable."

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