Primary teachers will vote this week on whether to resume talks on their pay dispute - but they're angry that the Ministry of Education has applied for facilitated talks without waiting for them.
The primary teachers' union, NZ Educational Institute (NZEI), said ministry head Iona Holsted asked it to apply jointly with the ministry for facilitated talks at the Employment Relations Authority.
"However NZEI says its members need to be consulted on such a decision and therefore the union won't be in a position to respond to the ministry's request until members have had their say this week," NZEI secretary Paul Goulter said.
"The Secretary [Holsted] has since advised NZEI that the ministry will not wait for member consultation to be completed and will instead file a memorandum with the ERA today (Wednesday)."
Goulter said he was disappointed with the move and felt members "have a right to help make such important decisions".
"Members have made every decision in this campaign; it's a fundamental principle of how we operate as a union," he said.
"The Secretary of Education is riding roughshod over that by going directly to the Employment Relations Authority before members have had their say.
"If there's an improved offer she wants to urgently make, I suggest she just pick up the phone."
However Holsted said she invited the NZEI to facilitated bargaining at midday last Friday.
"We have since extended the time we asked for a response from both unions, at their request," she said.
"We are serious about taking all action available to us to avert the significant disruption a strike would cause to young people and their families, as well as to employers.
"Independent facilitated bargaining is the strongest form of assistance available to reach a negotiated settlement. In the light of the proposed strike, it would be wrong for me to continue to delay, and not take this action."
The teachers and their secondary colleagues in the Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) said this week that they would hold a joint one-day strike on May 29 in support of claims for higher pay, more non-contact time and smaller classes.