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Over 150 teachers cast vote on Ministry offer

Wairarapa primary teachers have voted on a settlement offer for their collective employment agreement.

Over 150 teachers attended the Masterton union meeting on Wednesday to discuss and vote on the offer, which aimed to reduce teacher-to-child ratios, increase funding for learning support and children with higher needs, and give teachers more time to prepare lessons.

The offer came from 11 negotiation meetings since July between the Ministry of Education [MoE] and NZEI Te Riu Roa, New Zealand’s largest teacher’s union.

This month, NZEI president Liam Rutherford said the offer “doesn’t look like it will come close to touching the sides of the issues” educators face.

Concurrent meetings were held in different parts of New Zealand and were scheduled to finish yesterday.

NZEI will vote to accept or decline the offer as a national collective; each teacher could vote at their local meeting.

Masterton NZEI spokesperson Peter Mele, a Hadlow School teacher, said the meetings were crucial for discussing, not only the Ministry’s collective agreement offer, but the future of children’s education.

Mele said the offer did little to address primary teachers’ longstanding issues.

“We know that longer-term addressing these problems requires a commitment from the government in next year’s budget.

“That’s why it’s really important that we use these meetings to discuss their offers and where we go from here.

“Our children will be depending on it,” Mele said.

The national vote results are due next week.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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