Government announces $1.4b pay offer for teachers

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Section
Education,
Publish Date
Friday, 14 June 2019, 10:54AM
Chris Hipkins made the announcement today. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Chris Hipkins made the announcement today. (Photo / NZ Herald)

The Government has made a revised offer to teachers worth more than $1.4 billion, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.

Hipkins said negotiations had concluded last night between the Government and two teacher unions over a long-running pay and conditions dispute.

The Government's offer - which the unions would now take to a vote - would restore pay parity for primary and secondary school teachers.

In total, the offer is worth an additional $271 million, on top of the $1.2 billion which was already on the table.

"Ultimately we've got a deal, and I think it's a good deal," Hipkins said.

The Government had previously said it was not willing to go higher than $1.2 billion with its offer.

NZEI president Lynda Stuart said members would vote on the latest proposals on Wednesday, and the national executive would recommend ratifying the latest offer.

She said the pay increases offered to primary teachers were significantly larger than in previous offers, including a new top step of $90,000 to help attract and retain teachers.

Schools would also get eight extra teacher-only days over the three-year term of the agreement.

All current teachers would see their base salary increase by at least 18.5 per cent by July 2021 if they ratified the settlement, Stuart said. The median base salary increase by July 2021 would be $14,500.

"In recognition of the tough fight our members have put up over the past 18 months to campaign for quality teaching and learning for our kids, we are pleased union members will get a $1500 lump sum — and their pay increases will kick in three months ahead of non-members," she said.

This comes after PPTA Jack Boyle yesterday said teachers had cancelled the regional rolling strike action that had been planned for the week beginning June 17.

"As you know, a ministerial forum took place last week to break the impasse in negotiations for teachers' collective agreement negotiations.

"Those talks were very productive and we are pleased to be in a position to call off the strikes."

Yesterday, NZ First leader Winston Peters said he had revealed in the House that the pay dispute was over and a solution had been foun

 

d.

Speaking to reporters outside the House, after he was kicked out for challenging speaker Trevor Mallard, Peters said his comments in the House constituted an official announcement that the dispute with the teachers was over.

He said an agreement had been reached and an announcement was made at 2pm that day.

But none of the teachers' unions would confirm a deal had been reached and there was an announcement at that time.

An hour after Peters' comments, Hipkins issues a brief press release.

"Cabinet has had further discussions on the teacher and principal claims. The unions are in the final stages of negotiations with the Ministry of Education. I hope to have more to say on this soon."

Last week Education Minister Chris Hipkins met the unions of primary and secondary schools to discuss the long-standing industrial dispute that had led to last month's mega-strike of some 50,000 teachers, affecting 800,000 students.

Earlier this week, Hipkins would not be drawn on whether a solution to the stand-off had been reached, saying only that an announcement was due in a "few days".

He would also not comment on whether the Government had offered any more money than the $1.2 billion that has been on the table.

This was a change in tone, as Hipkins had previously stated over and over again that the Government would not offer any more money to teachers.

 

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