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Primary teachers reject Ministry offer

Wairarapa primary school teachers joined their colleagues across New Zealand to reject the government’s offer to settle their collective employment agreements.

Wairarapa teachers voted to accept or decline the Ministry of Education [MoE] offer at two union meetings last week.

The ballot closed Sunday after a week of nationwide union meetings, with NZEI voting to reject the offer.

Hadlow teacher and NZEI union member Peter Mele said the mood at the Masterton meeting last Wednesday was overwhelmingly against the offer.

“It was a resounding no, which reflected the mood of teachers nationally.

“I’d say we can expect more union meetings in term one next year, and until we receive a better offer from MoE, the ball is in their court,” Mele said.

NZEI president Liam Rutherford said the offer failed to answer major concerns of reducing classroom ratios, fixing funding for learning support, and reducing work demands.

“The teacher meetings were robust and frank and pretty much unanimous in telling the government that their offer needs improvement.”

Rutherford said union members had also discussed their plans for future action if the government did not improve the offer after further negotiations.

“There was a lot of feeling out there.

“Teachers are frustrated and disappointed the government does not seem to be listening to them, which is the message they asked the negotiating teams to take back.”

MoE spokesperson Anna Welanyk said, “we will continue to bargain with the NZEI in good faith and work towards an agreement in due course.”

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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