Primary school principals in Tauranga say a decision by teachers to strike again has not been taken lightly.

Teachers around New Zealand have voted to walk off the job in a series of rolling regional strikes in the week of November 12.

Tauranga and Western Bay teachers will strike on November 13.

It follows a national strike on August 15 and New Zealand Education Institute members' rejection of a second offer by the Ministry in late September.

Advertisement

In a statement, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said there was still a lot of water to go under the bridge before the proposed industrial action was due to take place.

"The Government is pleased the Ministry of Education and the NZEI are urgently seeking facilitation under the Employment Relations Act. This will advance the process to help reach settlements with primary principals and teachers."

Tauranga Special School principal Barrie Wickens said the decision to have a second strike was a unique situation.

"This has never happened before in 24 years and shows staff are committed to ensuring they send a strong message to the Government's that is inadequate," he said.

Wickens said the issues went far wider than just pay and workloads pressures, to ensuring schools were adequately resourced with sufficient special education co-ordinators and social workers.

Tauranga Special School principal Barrie Wickens. Photo / Andrew Warner
Tauranga Special School principal Barrie Wickens. Photo / Andrew Warner

"It's also about being able to entice the next group of recruits into the teaching profession in the next 15 to 20 years," he said.

Wickens said it was clear from the first strike, the community backed the teachers and he believed the public would do so again, but the impasse needed to be resolved.

Greerton Village principal Anne Mackintosh said her teaching staff were not taking strike action lightly.

Advertisement

"We're finding as we get closer to the end of the year things are getting really difficult,
particularly trying to find a relief teacher," she said.

Greerton Village School principal Anne Mackintosh. Photo / John Borren
Greerton Village School principal Anne Mackintosh. Photo / John Borren

Mackintosh said she had advertised for replacements for three teacher vacancies after some experienced staff decided to leave the profession.

"A few years ago we used to get 100 applicants for each vacancy but today we're lucky if we get 15 to 20 and most schools would be in the same position," she said.

"It does really concern me as a teacher that the ability to attract people to the profession is being weakened the longer this situation continues."

Gate Pā School principal Richard Inder reported a similar decline in applications.

"We advertised three permanent positions. In the past, we would have had 100 applications. This time we had 20 - and this is in Tauranga, a desirable area to move to."

Principal of Gate Pā School, Richard Inder. Photo / George Novak
Principal of Gate Pā School, Richard Inder. Photo / George Novak

It was also difficult to recruit principals, said Inder, who will leave his post at the end of Term 3 next year as he wants to take a break and then perhaps try a different career.

Inder said he had given his board so much advance notice as he knew how challenging the recruitment process for his replacement would be.

He was optimistic the ministry and union could come to an agreement and avoid a strike.

If they could not, he hoped inconvenienced parents would understand teachers were taking a stand now to benefit their children in the long term.