Primary and intermediate school teachers and principals will be march and picket around Northland as they campaign for better pay and working conditions.

Education union NZEI announced it would go ahead with rolling strikes this week, despite a new offer from the Ministry of Education worth $698 million over three years.

Today's strike is the second for teachers and principals this year. NZEI Te Tai Tokerau field officer Peter Hughes said educators were frustrated.

"It's not about the money, it's about more time to teach children, it's about attracting people to the profession. The workload is overwhelming," he said.


The Ministry's latest offer, presented last Thursday, followed four days of facilitated bargaining under the Employment Relations Authority (ERA).

It did not move on an earlier offer to raise pay scales by 3 per cent a year for three years, but it included a new top step and the partial removal of a cap on qualifications for some teachers from 2020.

NZEI president Lynda Stuart said the offers did not address union claims for lower class sizes and more professional time.

Justine Gamble, who taught at Kaitaia Intermediate for 11 years and now works as a resource teacher for learning and behaviour there, said while the pay was important to attract people to the profession the "humongous workload" and lack of time to teach needed to be addressed.

The latest offer will be discussed at closed meetings in Dargaville, Whangārei, Kerikeri and Kaitaia at 10am.

Dargaville teachers and principals will picket outside the town clock from 9am; Whangārei teachers will picket around town from 8am and will march from Northland Events Centre to the Town Basin at 11am; Kerikeri teachers will be picketing from 8am; and Kaitaia teachers will picket outside the old Pak'nSave and the grass area outside the new Warehouse from 11am.

• In October NZEI held a 10-day electronic ballot which saw teachers vote for rolling strike action, this followed a strike held in August.
• The Employment Relations Authority facilitated bargaining between NZEI and the Ministry of Education last week.
• The Ministry put forward a new offer which the ERA recommended teachers accept. It includes:
* A $500 lump sum for NZEI members only.
* Lifting the maximum salary for teachers who trained before degrees became required for teaching by four steps on the pay scale from $59,621 to $82,992, by 2020.
* Creating an extra step at the top of the salary scale from 2020, lifting the top of the basic scale by 12.6 per cent, from $75,949 to $85,481, by 2020.
• Teachers and principals had asked for a 16 per cent pay rise over the two years.
• Members also want to fix the teacher shortage crisis, more time to teach and lead, and to fix issues related to career development.