Teachers at a meeting at the Palmerston North Leisure Community Center discuss the offer.
The Government’s latest pay offer to teachers is not enough to address serious education issues and the cost of living crisis, educators say.
Members from the New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa union have been holding meetings across the country for the past two weeks to decide whether to accept the latest pay offer from the Government.
The union and the Government are still negotiating, but teachers believe the latest offer isn’t enough.
In Manawatū, teachers held a meeting at the Palmerston North Leisure Community Center on Friday to discuss the offer.
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Frances Arapere is a resource teacher of Māori across Rangitīkei and is the chairperson of Te Haunui Area Council for Manawatū.
She had been to the paid union meetings in Whanganui and Manawatū and told Stuff the feeling of being dissatisfied with the offer was widespread amongst teachers.
“The public service pay offer doesn’t recognize the increase in the cost of living that we’re all having to constantly tackle.
“The offer doesn’t really address a lot of the issues that affect our tamariki.”
Arapere said they needed resourcing for teacher aides and specialist teachers to help with specialist learning support and to recognize the stress that had been placed on teachers.
She had also been dismayed about a Ministry of Education proposal to disestablish 53 resource teacher of Māori roles across the country, which included her.
The ministry had agreed to remove the proposal relating to those roles, but it had still been a stressful time for Arapere.
The ministry’s education workforce hautū (leader) Anna Welanyk said in a statement: “We are in continuing negotiations with the union and remain open to discussing all issues.”
NZEI president Liam Rutherford said teachers were disappointed with the Government offer.
Rutherford said through the Covid-19 pandemic “we heard about the value of teachers every day and teachers were feeling really optimistic” going into collective agreement negotiations, but the overwhelming feedback had been the offer was “really, really poor”.
“Really it is around pay that doesn’t go backwards, manageable workloads and so teachers have got the time to give children the support they need.”
He said the offer meant teachers felt undervalued and there wasn’t sufficient resourcing to address learning needs.
The union also wanted more investment for smaller classrooms sizes.
Results of the vote are likely to be known at the weekend.
Principals were also in negotiation over a pay offer and were likely to know the outcome of their vote next week.
Ross Intermediate School principal Wayne Jenkins said the principals’ offer was an insult and did not address any issues relating to equity.