Teacher's claim could cost $6.6m in salary costs

By Kate Shuttleworth

The PPTA said after changes to the CEA, a group of teachers, including Mr Gray, should have been put on a higher pay scale. Photo / Thinkstock
The PPTA said after changes to the CEA, a group of teachers, including Mr Gray, should have been put on a higher pay scale. Photo / Thinkstock

A teacher has taken a case to the Employment Relations Authority claiming underpayment, a claim that could affect 2000 teachers and cost the Ministry of Education $6.6 million in salary costs.

Cambridge High School teacher Robert Gray and the union representing him, the Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) say changes to the teachers' collective employment agreement (CEA), signed off by the Ministry of Education last year, have not been honoured.

The PPTA said after changes to the CEA, a group of teachers, including Mr Gray, should have been put on a higher pay scale.

It says the pay scales apply not only to teachers who became registered after 13 April last year, but also to those who were registered as at 13 April.

The PPTA said despite changes being signed off last year, Secretary for Education Lesley Longstone continued to apply terms relating to the previous collective employment agreement.

The ministry and the PPTA do not agree over the variations to the CEA, and the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) has referred the matter to the Employment Court.

The ERA report, compiled by Michele Ryan, did not detail the words and phrases used in the variation or specify which part of the CEA it referred to.

"I have not set out the provisions which give rise to the dispute on the basis that considerable commentary would be required to give context to the wording and phrases used in the variation," Ms Ryan said in the report.

The PPTA has begun collective bargaining with the ministry for next year.

The CEA covers 20,000 full-time secondary teachers.

- APNZ

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