Secondary teachers have voted overwhelmingly to reject the latest Ministry of Education collective agreement offer and go on strike again.
The negotiations have the possibility to turn sour for the education sector as some teachers choose to leave the profession altogether, a union leader has warned.
At the same time as they voted on the latest offer, the union members also voted on further strike action for the rest of term two, the next three weeks.
They will not teach two-year levels per day.
The rejection comes after primary teachers voted to accept the latest Ministry of Education collective agreement offer this week.
PPTA Te Wehengarua acting president Chris Abercrombie said improvements to staffing and other conditions need to be made to enable secondary teachers to concentrate on teaching and learning.
“Our members are increasingly frustrated at the fact that the demands on teachers are skyrocketing and many teachers are on the brink of leaving, but this is not being acknowledged by the Government in its offers to us.”
Abercrombie said he hoped the settlement of the primary teachers’ collective agreement would enable the Government to focus more sharply on the needs of secondary education and find a solution to the impasse.
“Members have given national executive and the negotiating teams a clear mandate to seek a better offer that meets the pressing needs of secondary education and the secondary teaching profession.
“When negotiations began more than a year ago we made it clear that secondary teachers needed a pay increase that matched inflation, simply to stop the value of our salaries falling further behind.
“We have a worsening shortage of secondary teachers – any school principal will tell you how increasingly difficult it is to fill vacancies. We cannot afford to let pay and conditions slide.”
Ministry of Education employment relations general manager Mark Williamson said it was disappointing that the offer to secondary teachers has not been accepted.
“The offer that secondary teachers have rejected balanced the need to attract and retain teachers early in their career, provide a fair increase for experienced teachers, while also addressing the union’s priorities for improvements to other conditions.”
The offer included immediate one-off payments of up to $5210 to support teachers, Williamson said.
“Teachers who are early in their careers would have been paid between 26 per cent and 35 per cent more in 2025 than they were paid in 2022, when the collective agreement expired. Teachers progressing up the scale would have been paid much more than the expected rate of inflation for the coming two years.”
Bargaining will continue next week, but Williamson said the PPTA needed to be prepared to come back to the table.
“Industrial action which impacts student’s learning should not continue while bargaining is under way. Strikes and stopping our young people from learning and participating in school life will not help reach a settlement and only delays teachers from receiving the benefit of the considerable investment that our offer makes in remuneration and conditions.”
As part of industrial strike action, on Monday to Thursday secondary teachers will not use entitled planning and marking time to relieve absent teachers, and they will not attend meetings or respond to emails outside of regular school hours.
PPTA Te Wehengarua members who are not part of NCEA pilots will not do work related to NCEA changes, including engagement with the Ministry of Education and the NZ Qualifications Authority.
PPTA members will also not take part in any of their schools’ extracurricular activities on Wednesday, June 21.
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