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Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Teachers on strike again

Hundreds of Wairarapa secondary school teachers went on strike as part of a nationwide protest yesterday after negotiations about pay and working conditions with the Ministry of Education reached a stalemate.

The teachers decided to take the action, the second this month, to protest the lack of progress in their collective agreement negotiations, which have been ongoing since last May.

About 20,000 members of the Post Primary Teachers’ Association [PPTA] were expected to take part in the nationwide action after they voted to hold the one-day strike yesterday.

This is the second time this month Wairarapa teachers have come out on strike, the first being on March 16. That day, about 200 also actively protested at picket lines in the region.

“Unfortunately, we have yet to make significant progress on some of our critical demands,” said Ryan McCroskery, chair of the PPTA Te Wehengarua, Wairarapa region.

McCroskery expected all Wairarapa PPTA members to have downed tools yesterday.

“One of our pressing concerns is the growing shortage of subject specialist teachers in our schools. As these teachers have valuable skills that are in high demand in other professions, they often have the flexibility to seek alternative employment opportunities.

“To ensure our rangatahi receive the best possible education, we believe that secondary teaching must be a desirable and competitive career option. It is essential to address this issue urgently to attract and retain talented educators who can inspire our students to academic success.”

McCroskery said a collective agreement offering competitive pay and favourable working conditions is needed to attract and retain experienced teachers.

“Teaching is a gratifying and crucial profession that enables us to contribute to the development of young minds and help shape their future successes,” he said.

“Being a part of our students’ journeys, supporting their growth, and equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to achieve their goals is a remarkable experience. As such, we must ensure that teaching remains an attractive and fulfilling career choice for all those who aspire to make a difference in the lives of our akonga.”

Secondary teachers are looking for a new collective agreement that includes salary increases aligned with the rising cost of living.

They also want increased guidance staff to help support students in need, together with more effective workload management strategies.

“Effective controls on workload are critical to promoting a healthy work-life balance for teachers, preventing burnout, and enabling us to perform at our best. We urge the Government to take its responsibility to teachers seriously.”

McCroskery said the negotiations would continue.

“We hope we will have a new offer soon which is acceptable. I hope the government comes to the party and offers something close, or very close to, what we want. We don’t want to strike.”

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