The announcement comes hot on the heels of the sector’s rejection of the latest Ministry of Education offers, which the union says failed to address the need for a significant pay increase, teacher workload issues or resourcing for children with additional learning needs.
The proposed strike action would consist of rolling one-day strikes throughout the country in November.
NZEI Te Riu Roa president Lynda Stuart said the decision came after members were consulted both in schools and at this week’s annual conference over a number of options for industrial action.
She said “the strongest support” was for a week of strike action.
"There was also some support for lesser industrial action, and strong support for a two-day strike,” she added.
Stuart said members’ concerns about the impact of the strike on parents and children were balanced by the fact that education is already being disrupted by the ongoing teacher shortage.
“Over half of schools didn't have enough staff last term.
“We are hearing about so many children being shifted into other classes because schools can't find a teacher for them."
The Ministry has urged teachers and principals not to take any more strike action.
Iona Holsted, Secretary of Education, said in a statement that the Government had worked in a number of areas to address primary teachers’ concerns, along with offering a pay increase.
“The Government removed National Standards because teachers said it significantly contributed to their workload,” she explained.
“It provided over $20 million in Budget18 to increase teacher supply over four years, including bringing New Zealand teachers home from overseas.
“Budget18 also funded $270 million for children and young people who need extra learning support [while] last week the Associate Education Minister Martin launched the Disability and Learning Support Action Plan for consultation and asked the sector to work with her on it.”
Holsted also cited the Ministry’s work on a medium to long-term workforce strategy as evidence that the Government was addressing claims.
“The Government’s Maori language strategy, Maihi Karauna, lays out the Crown’s responsibilities to revitalise te reo Māori by 2040.
“The Ministry is also refreshing Ka Hikitia, the Māori Education Strategy, and Tau Mai Te Reo, the Māori Language in Education Strategy, as part of the Education Work Programme,” she further added.
“[These] steps … complement the offers to settle the collective agreements worth $569 million that have been made by the Crown.”
Secret ballots on the strike action are required under employment law, and will be conducted by NZEI from October 16-25.