Hard on the heels of an overwhelming rejection of the government’s second offer of settlement by secondary teachers at meetings held between 7-23 November, the union’s representatives on the negotiating team did not believe that the latest offer was good enough to take out to members.

“Secondary schools are facing teacher shortages that are far from business as usual,” says PPTA president Jack Boyle.

“The offer from the government, while an improvement on the one we received in November, faces the fundamental problem of not addressing this unfortunate reality."

However, Ellen MacGregor-Reid, Deputy Secretary for Early Learning and Student Achievement, said the Ministry had invited the PPTA to develop alternative options to the one tabled, and that they declined.

Boyle said the PPTA had met with teachers in recent weeks and received a consistent message from them.

"We need to see a reset of teachers’ terms and conditions of work to address the teacher shortages and workload challenges," he said.

"This offer doesn’t do that.”

The government’s offer to PPTA was very similar to that made to primary teachers, which was rejected yesterday by NZEI members.

PPTA and the Ministry of Education have agreed to undertake mediation through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, which will begin on 13 December 2018.

“It’s clear that the government has to come back with the resources to address the problems the sector is facing. Tweaks simply won’t do it,” said Boyle.

 

MacGregor-Reid said mediation would be a "useful step".

"We look forward to progressing talks.

"The Ministry is focused on settling these negotiations and on minimising any disruption for students’ learning and for their parents."

There are around 30,000 secondary teachers, including relief teachers, around the country.

The Ministry insists it is addressing secondary teachers' concerns outside of the bargaining process through a number of initiatives, including the NCEA review, a medium to long-term workforce strategy, funding for learning support and $40 million to address next year's teacher shortage.