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The secondary teachers' union says contracts talks are continuing with the Ministry of Education today, but there is no resolution in sight yet.

The Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) suspended this week's planned industrial action to discuss a new offer from the ministry.

However, PPTA negotiators were "astonished" by the ministry's initial contracts settlement offer revealed yesterday.

"We're still in talks and they're still tense and very difficult," PPTA president Kate Gainsford told NZPA this afternoon.

The PPTA executive would review the day's bargaining this evening, she said.

It was "very difficult" to say when negotiations, which began yesterday morning, might come to an end, she added.

"I'm hopeful about progress (but) I can't say I'm optimistic," she said.

Ms Gainsford yesterday described the mood at the negotiating table as a "mixture of extreme tension and disappointment".

Negotiators would wait to determine whether there was any "further movement possible", but had warned the ministry there would be no "game playing" allowed.

She could not go into any detail about the ministry's offer as the negotiations were continuing.

"Further industrial action will take place unless there is a greater sense of urgency seen at the table and a significantly greater commitment from the government away from the table," she said.

Teachers are seeking a 4 per cent pay rise plus improved working conditions, rejecting the ministry's offer of a 1.5 per cent and a further 1 per cent next year.

- NZPA