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Teachers say the strike is not about the money, it’s about more time.

Lydia Clarke

On Wednesday, over 2000 Cantabrian teachers fought for better conditions for the children and more time to plan and teach.

New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) members meet at a closed meeting in Horncastle Arena before they carried out strikes through Riccarton.

This is the second time teachers have been on strike in the past 3 months.

This was the third day of the rolling strikes that were carried out across the country.

Many teachers said it wasn’t about the pay increase, it was about better resources for the children and more time for teachers to plan.

Teachers want more out of class preparation time. At the moment, they only get two days a term whereas secondary school teachers get 10 days a term. 

Teacher Strike

Over the next fortnight NZEI members will vote on whether they want to accept or reject the Ministry of Education’s latest offer, which would mean teachers will get an almost $10,000 pay increase for most teachers over the next 3 years.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said the Government wasn’t listening to what they wanted.

“The question is: will this address the crisis in education and the teacher shortage? What we asked for had children at the heart - for example more time to teach and smaller class sizes.” Stuart said.

Principal of North Loburn School, Darryn Ward feels changes need to happen fast before things get worse.

“I’ve been teaching 25 years and I haven’t seen a change yet and unless we stand tall and we stand united we are not going to see that change. We need the Government to understand that we really are fighting for a crisis.” Said Ward.

“We are not happy with the offers the Government have made, so we need to keep fighting.” 

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In a statement from the Ministry of Education is said; “It is important that we settle these negotiations and minimise disruption for children and parents.”

A teacher from Leeston school, Rebekah Gilmour said they need more time for all the ‘extra tasks’ teachers are faced with.

“There are so many children with learning disabilities or special needs and we need to make sure that they are getting the best education possible” Gilmour said. 

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Teachers voted overwhelmingly to go on strike in a strength to get more resources, more time, smaller class sizes and better pay.

The strikes will continue through to Friday with the final strike in the Wellington region.