Union action recalls dispute

By Elizabeth Binning

Dame Margaet Bazley. File Photo / Supplied
Dame Margaet Bazley. File Photo / Supplied

Nine years ago, teachers embarked on an 18-month pay dispute with the Ministry of Education that involved strikes, the end of extra-curricular activities and the breakdown of NCEA co-operation.

It took arbitration to break the deadlock late in 2002, resulting in a ministerial taskforce, led by Dame Margaret Bazley, to look into secondary teacher remuneration.

Post Primary Teachers Association president Kate Gainsford said one finding was that remuneration was a reason so few people were interested in becoming teachers. A good way to resolve that was improved salaries.

That formed the basis for the following year's negotiations, during which gained a three-year contract, with a rise of 2.5 per cent in the first year followed by two 3 per cent rises. The percentages were based on median labour cost index figures.

In 2007, they were given another three-year settlement of 4 per cent.

This year, the PPTA has again asked for a 4 per cent rise. It doesn't want to go back to the late 90s when recruiting teachers was a struggle.

The ministry has offered a one-off $1000 payment, a 0.5 per cent increase to base salary rates and a further 1.9 per cent rise next year.

That offer has been rejected and teachers are now back to where they were almost a decade ago, holding rolling strikes.

- NZ Herald

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