NZEI lead teacher for the Nelson/Tasman region, Stacey Ashley. Photo: Matt McCrorie.

Teacher pay deal ‘a good first step’

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Local teachers are mostly satisfied with the government’s revised offer for teachers, but there is still a long way to go, says local teacher Stacey Ashley.

The largest-ever teacher strike saw both primary and secondary school teachers gather to withdraw their services on June 4.

Over 50,000 members across two unions decided to strike after rejecting previous offers made by the Government.

The aim of the strike was for the Government to spend more money on improving teaching conditions, more staff and more release time.

The new offer includes a pay increase for all teachers, as well as pay parity between primary teachers and secondary teachers.

The offer includes a lump sum of $1500 for union members and a new top salary rate of $90,000.

While the pay increase is a big positive, teachers are still concerned about workload and release time.

“A lot of what we wanted was to reduce the workload. While it hasn’t come through yet, the increase in the pay will hopefully bring more teachers into the profession and get them to stay,” says NZEI primary lead teacher for Nelson, Stacey Ashley.

Stacey says that teachers hope that will go a long way towards easing workload and giving them more release time.

“Teachers are struggling, working all the time. I’ve seen teachers hospitalised because of stress.”

Teachers say that while the Government’s offer isn’t exactly what they were asking for, it is a good first step and holds lots of goodwill.

“We have faith that the pay increase will be followed up with more resources and more release time to ease the workload.”

While there is still a way to go, Stacey says that the government’s latest offer is a good start.