Primary and secondary education unions will join forces in their campaign for better pay and conditions for teachers if their wishes are not met.
The primary teachers' union, the NZ Educational Institute, and the secondary union, the Post Primary Teachers' Association, made the announcement late this afternoon.
In a joint statement from national presidents of the PPTA and NZEI - Jack Boyle and Lynda ) Stuart, respectively, they said:
"We know that this Government has inherited a teacher shortage and a desperate situation for children with additional learning needs because of the failure to plan and fund education properly; and we acknowledge that they are working to try and fix it.
"However, what we see now is an unprecedented crisis and it affects your tamariki, mokopuna, nieces and nephews.
"It's the future of our children we are talking about.''
Up to 30,000 teachers with NZEI took part in strikes in Auckland, the North Island, Christchurch and the South Island this week.
They are now in the process of considering the latest offer given by the Government - the outcome of which will not be known for a number of weeks.
But both executives - who represent up to 48,000 principals and teachers from around the country - said that should the offer be rejected, the unions would unite.
"Both unions would campaign together to win public and Government support for more investment in teaching and learning in 2019,'' a statement said.
Stuart said she was supporting colleagues who were "desperate'' for help.
Many of the principals she associated with could not find teachers to adequately staff their school or cover sickness.
The workload was also a big issue for teachers; who also pointed out that that involved finding support for children with special needs.
Stuart acknowledged recent research that showed more school leaders and principals were dealing with high levels of stress.
"We want teaching to be the creative, rewarding career that it used to be - with teachers having time to teach, students having the support and individualised learning that they need and principals having the time to read.''
The joint executives called on the government to:
- Urgently and publicly acknowledge that teachers' terms and conditions of employment are key drivers of recruitment and retention;
- Urgently reduce excessive and unproductive workload for teachers and principals;
Make a strong commitment to education through significantly increasing the value of the offers to primary and secondary teachers and principals;
- Remove all claw-backs of terms and conditions from the table in collective agreement negotiations.
- That in the event that NZEI Te Riu Roa members reject the current Ministry offer and there are no satisfactory offers from the Ministry of Education before the start of Term 1, 2019, NZEI and PPTA Executives in principle approve:
- The development of joint campaign plans to be put into action in 2019 to support member activism and community engagement;
- Joint actions, subject to appropriate member endorsement, by NZEI and PPTA members in Term 1 2019.
They said that:
- Teacher shortages undermine educational equity and opportunity for children and young people across Aotearoa;
- The current shortage of primary and secondary teachers constitutes a crisis;
- The government's proposals to address the shortages are insufficient;
- Excessive and unproductive workload has a detrimental impact on teacher and principal wellbeing, and educational outcomes for learners;
- Terms and conditions of employment established in collective agreements are a key mechanism to recruit and retain teachers.
Source: NZEI and PPTA