Nelson parents are backing local primary school teachers as they prepare to take full-day strike action on Wednesday.
Around 500 local teachers and principals are standing up for better pay and conditions, with many planing to rally at the top of Trafalgar St from 11am.
Earlier this month, the The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) Te Riu Roa announced the full-day strike action following an online ballot.
It’s the first strike in 24 years for educators.
The decision to strike comes after NZEI and the Ministry of Education agreed to enter mediation over collective agreement negotiations last month.
The Ministry of Education had offered to increase pay, in the majority of cases, by between 2.2 and 2.6 per cent a year for three years. The offer was a far cry from the 16 per cent increase teachers felt was needed to retain and recruit staff.
Although the strike will place extra pressure on parents and caregivers for the day, principals say Nelsonians are right behind their educators.
Tahunanui School principal Barbara Bowen says most have been “very supportive”.
Staff have been at the school gates sharing key messages, handing out information and answering questions.
Parent of six, Ruth Rodley, says her family has become close to the teachers of Tahunanui School.
“We want nothing but the best for them. We’ve already had three children go there and have three more still there.”
“I think teachers deserve to be paid better, they do such an amazing job. The teachers at our school have had to deal with some pretty hard students and I don’t think they get the credit they should for all the time and effort they put in. I fully support them.”
Clifton Terrace School principal Rob Wemyss says he has had only positive comments.
“I feel that the community realise ‘it is time’. We can only do what we can with what we have got. We do require people into the profession to assist the growing needs we are faced with on a daily basis,” he says. “Things need to change, and I think there is a realisation that for this to happen the government needs to come to the party.”
The rally for teachers and principals is on tomorrow, August 15, at the Cathedral Steps from 11am – 1pm.