Today NZEI Te Riu Roa announced that new offers from the Ministry would be presented to primary teachers and principals at paid union meetings in the week of March 18.

It comes hot on the heels of an announcement by their secondary teacher counterparts over the weekend of a date for potential strike action – April 3 – should their own collective bargaining negotiations not produce a resolution.

In a statement Ellen MacGregor-Reid, Deputy Secretary for Early Learning and Student Achievement, said the offer had been negotiated within the total $698 million package available to reach settlement.

"NZEI were advised before negotiations started that we would be bargaining within this amount, whereas their claims would cost $2.5 billion,” she said. 

“During these talks we repackaged the settlement offer to present two new options for primary teachers, to further meet NZEI’s pay and workload concerns, and a new option for primary principals.

"The pay offer made to primary teachers in November 2018 would have seen 19,000 teachers getting an average increase of around $10,000 after 24 months.

“One of the new options would introduce the additional pay step at the top of the base scale - offered in November - a full year earlier.

"This would mean that after 12 months, around 9,700 teachers currently on the maximum step of the base salary scale would receive an increase of nearly $7,000, up from just over $4,500 under the previous timing.

"The other option provides 10 hours of additional classroom release time, per year for three years to the majority of primary teachers, in addition to the November pay offers.

"Under the new offer all 2,000 primary principals would receive the pay offer made to them in November, which would see them receive at least a 3 percent pay rise each year for three years.

“In addition, for principals of smaller schools with 100 children or less under the new offer will benefit from 10 hours per term additional classroom release time.”

Primary teacher Tute Porter-Samuels, a member of NZEI’s primary teachers' negotiation team, said while she's pleased to finally be able to bring a new offer back to members, she's disappointed with how little the Ministry was willing to move. 

"The negotiation teams made it clear to the Ministry that the new offers are disappointing. They do not adequately address the urgent need for more time and more pay so that we can attract and retain great teachers," she said.

NZEI Te Riu Roa members will discuss and vote on whether to accept or reject the offers at nationwide meetings during the week of March 18.

If members vote to reject the offers, they will vote on whether to join with their secondary school colleagues in strike action on April 3.