Rotorua teachers are among those calling for better pay and conditions to help recruit and retain people in the profession.
Intermediate and secondary school teachers from around Rotorua and beyond met today to talk about the Post Primary Teachers Association's (PPTA) collective employment agreement negotiations.
PPTA regional representative Alex Le Long said the union was focused on recruiting and retaining staff through pay.
"There are issues around ensuring our teachers are getting what they deserve because teachers bring out the best in children," she said.
"We need to make sure we are getting the right people into the job and make sure they stay in the job."
In the meeting, Bay of Plenty/Central Plateau executive member Glenn Cassidy told the teachers present it was important to present a united front in negotiations.
"We need to unite for the sake of our profession and the sake of the students we teach," he said.
"The big challenge is what we want costs money and we all know there's never enough to go around.
"While one teacher may be easy to ignore, bully or replace, it's impossible to ignore, bully or replace 17,000 of us."
Cassidy said the profession was being affected by significant roll growth and a reduction in teachers. This was resulting in large classes to cover staff shortages, he said.
"We must make the job manageable and remuneration competitive which will mean the Government has to put its hands very deep into its pockets," he said.
"The claim is based on two main things - fixing teachers shortages and eliminating excessive workloads."
Earlier in the year teacher unions warned of likely strikes over pay.
The meeting in Rotorua was one of more than 35 being held around the country until June 8.
The meetings are a chance to hear about the upcoming negotiations for the Secondary Teachers Collective Agreement and discuss and vote on the claims.
- A pay rise of 15 per cent for a one year term, taking the top of the pay scale to $89,700 and entry rate to $58,800
- Access to an accommodation allowance of a maximum $100 per week for teachers in areas with rents 110 per cent higher than the national median rental price.
- Management salary units to increase from $4000 to $6000 (units recognise management or extra responsibilities).
- Middle management and senior management allowances rise from $1000 to $1500.
- Non-contact time to increase from five to six hours for all full time teachers.
- Non-contact time to increase by another hour for middle leaders