Non-union teachers are angry that they will have to wait three months to get the pay rises that the Government has offered to union members.

Ministry of Education deputy secretary Ellen MacGregor-Reid has confirmed that the proposed pay hikes would take effect from July 1 for union members, but not until three months later for teachers who don't belong to the unions.

Union members, but not non-union members, would also get $1500 one-off payments on July 1.

Teachers who belong to the two unions, the NZ Educational Institute (NZEI) and the Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA), will start voting this week on whether to accept the new offer, which would lift the top of the teachers' basic salary scale from $78,000 to $90,000 by July 2021.

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But Justin Lindsay, a Hastings Boys' High School music teacher who is philosophically opposed to unions, said the three-month delay in the pay rise for non-union members is unprecedented and unfair.

"We are the teachers who would like to see performance pay and individual contracts," he said.

"That's a philosophical issue, but I feel like we are being punished for taking that point of view."

Lindsay said he did not object to the $1500 lump sum payments, which compensated union members for the income they had lost by going on strike.

But he felt the delayed pay rise for non-union members breached a basic union principle that teachers doing the same work should be paid the same.

Shiman Singh, a design teacher at De La Salle College in Māngere, said the proposed deal was "an absolute kick in the teeth for non-union members".

He said unions had not "evolved with the times". He felt they were no longer necessary to protect workers now that most people were well educated and could access legal representation, and "use the teachers as pawns" in national bargaining.

"This is not the 19th century! Please tell me am I wrong. If this was a private practice the employer would be in a dispute resolution," he said.

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Lynda Stuart:
Lynda Stuart: "They have done the hard yards and they actually deserve to see union benefits from acting collectively." Photo / Mark Mitchell

However NZEI president Lynda Stuart said union members had fought for the pay increases and deserved to reap the rewards.

"They have done the hard yards and they actually deserve to see union benefits from acting collectively," she said.

She said just under 90 per cent of primary teachers, and 95 per cent of primary principals, belonged to NZEI.

A PPTA spokeswoman said "probably over 80 per cent" of secondary teachers belonged to the PPTA.

Ellen MacGregor-Reid says non-union members will have to wait three months for the first pay rise this year, but will get later pay rises on July 1 of 2020 and 2021. Photo / Supplied
Ellen MacGregor-Reid says non-union members will have to wait three months for the first pay rise this year, but will get later pay rises on July 1 of 2020 and 2021. Photo / Supplied

MacGregor-Reid said the three-month delay for non-union members would apply only to the first pay rise in the proposed deal, on July 1 this year.

"They will receive subsequent increases at the same time as union members," she said.

"As part of the offer the Secretary for Education is required to advise boards of trustees of the above. Boards may not offer conditions of employment, including additional payments, without the concurrence of the Secretary for Education."

Alwyn Poole says teachers are still better off if they stay out of the unions. Photo / Fuile
Alwyn Poole says teachers are still better off if they stay out of the unions. Photo / Fuile

Charter school founder Alwyn Poole said even the three-month advance on the pay rise and the $1500 lump sum were less than the fees paid by union members.

"Union members have paid, on average, well in excess of $500 a year for the last three years and the next three years, i.e. $3000," he said.

"The percentage increase for three months will only be marginal. Plus the union members have struck for at least three days, [losing] approximately $900.

"So us non-members are still winning by about $2000 and don't have all of the ridiculous hassle of union membership."