Teachers' strike set to escalate

11.50am

Secondary school teachers have threatened to step up industrial action after Education Minister Trevor Mallard called off pay talks because of wildcat strikes.

Two thousand Auckland teachers belonging to the Post Primary Teachers Association are rostering home students from different year-levels throughout the week, ending on Thursday with seventh formers.

The action followed last week's rejection by teachers of a new pay offer, which PPTA president Jen McCutcheon called inadequate, saying it neither met the needs of union members nor did anything to assist with recruitment and retention issues.

Mr Mallard told National Radio today teachers were entitled to strike, but the Government was not required to negotiate while they were on strike, "and we certainly won't".

"Teachers have got to decide whether they want this settled or not. We had a settlement in December, we had a new offer last week -- $14 million extra, a total of $125 million, all of it going to secondary teachers. I want to get on with the negotiations."

Ms McCutcheon told National Radio teachers had been prepared to negotiate on Wednesday, and Mr Mallard had make a "kneejerk reaction."

Teachers were now prepared to increase their industrial action, she said.

"We're looking at rolling strikes...we're looking at increased NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement) action, we're looking at an extra-curricula, co-curricula ban later on in the term...so there's a plan of intensive and escalating industrial action."

- NZPA

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