© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2024

29,000 teachers march for better pay

Oliver Cowan
Harry Poland
Elizabeth Thomson
Teacher Strike

Primary and Intermediate school teachers are striking for the first time in 24 years. They want better pay, smaller class sizes, decreased workloads and a better work life balance.

Christchurch teachers gathered in Cathedral Square at 11am to protest for better working conditions and better pay. 

One teacher, Kris, said their salary had remained static over the last 40 years.

She was always taking work home at night and rarely got a weekend day off.  

Many teachers held the view that they did not get enough respect for the job they did. 

About 29,000 teachers and students attended protests, carrying flags and signs of support for primary school education. 

"There needs to be better investment in education so every child can reach their potential and we have enough teachers for every class", said NZEI Te Riu Roa lead principal negotiator Louise Green.

Although working parents were affected, many have supported the strike.

After-school care programmes extended their hours and parents took time off work to take care of their kids for the day. 

Mt Cheeseman ski field also backed  the cause by letting adults ski for half price with their children.

Cheeseman marketing manager Ana Hazase said "teachers do an amazing job", so she wanted to support them.

Local cafe owner and parent Stephanie Reeves, said: "I own my own business, luckily I have good support." 

Reeves said that she supported the strike and that it would not affect her usual day. She thanked the school's proactive approach to comunication.

The protest in Cathedral Square and the march attracted thousands of teachers and students who supported the cause.