Area teachers vote to join mega-strike on May 29
Teachers in area schools have voted to join primary and secondary teachers in New Zealand's largest-ever education strike on Wednesday May 29.
The strike is the first time all teachers in the compulsory schooling sector have taken strike action simultaneously.
About 2300 teachers work in 136 area schools and wharekura around the country, teaching students from primary age through to secondary.
The teachers, who are jointly represented by primary and secondary teachers' unions NZEI Te Riu Roa and PPTA, voted to strike after four days of talks with the Ministry of Education failed to result in an offer.
Area school teacher Lagi Leilua, who was on the NZEI/PPTA negotiation team, says the ministry had failed to put forward an offer, which was disrespectful to area school teachers.
"Area school teachers are suffering unsustainable workloads and we need pay and conditions that will keep and attract people into the profession.
"We will be joining our primary and secondary colleagues on strike and in the streets on 29 May because we share the same issues and face the same challenges."
NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart says area school teachers faced the same issues as their primary and secondary counterparts.
"Teachers need more time to teach, a significant pay jolt to attract people into the profession and more support for children with additional learning needs."
PPTA President Jack Boyle echoed this, saying "teachers are dealing with excessive workloads, long hours, unnecessary red tape and box ticking – and a salary that's turning people away from the profession".