Negotiations began between the Government and the Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) for a new collective agreement.

A number of claims have been presented by the PPTA, including a key claim for a 15 per cent pay increase.

The PPTA is also seeking a further one hour of non-contact time for teachers holding one, two or three management units, to help address middle management workloads; an increase in non-contact time for classroom teachers; provision for Māori and Pasifika community liaison roles on the basis of one role per 100 students on the Māori and Pasifika student rolls and amendments; and amendments to parental leave provisions including removal of gendered language and changing the maternity grant to “parental grant”.

Another key claim being made is for what the PPTA has called a “high cost accommodation allowance”, capped at a maximum of $100 a week, to assist teachers to live closer to work.

“Increasingly, many secondary teachers can’t live close to where they work, so that’s like a barrier to them being able to see themselves established within the communities they teach in,” Jack Boyle, president of the PPTA explained to EducationHQ.

“We did quite a bit of work and went backwards and forwards with teachers ... around what we could do, because it’s certainly not the job of the secondary teachers collective agreement to fix the housing shortages, and it certainly shouldn’t be coming out of that pot of money, but we did have to do something.

“Obviously it’s only a small lever rather than it being sufficient to make everyone be able to go and buy houses ... that’s not going to happen, but it’s about acknowledging that this is an additional barrier to recruitment and retention of secondary teachers and just starting that conversation.”

Boyle, pictured above, said that the “solutions” presented in the claim document were aimed at fixing the many problems facing the sector.

“The education system is suffering after a decade of under-funding and neglect.

“[There are] 40 per cent fewer people training in secondary, 40 per cent of those who do train are leaving in the first five years, and 20 per cent of our current secondary teachers are older than 60. So we can’t hang about.

“Teachers are struggling with over-assessment, red tape and box-ticking, and children are missing out on the one-on-one time they need with their teachers.”

Comparing the PPTA’s bargaining to the process currently being undertaken by NZEI, Boyle said he hoped industrial action would not be necessary.

“What the NZEI are bargaining for, we support them in their aspirations, but it should have no bearing at all on what we do.

“I certainly don’t anticipate that we’re going to have only one option and that’s to end up in a dispute; I want to give the Minister of Education, whom we’ve had a really good working relationship with over a long period of time, but also the Prime Minister and her coalition government, enable them to be able to correct this for the good of our tamariki mokopuna,” Boyle said.

Ellen MacGregor-Reid Deputy Secretary, Early Learning and Student Achievement, said although the Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement doesn’t expire until October 27, she welcomed a start to discussions.

“It was great that we were able to get around the table early today,” she said.