A dozen teachers and a few passionate children gathered in town last Wednesday, mustering support from the public as they advocated for serious improvements to the education system.
“We don’t refer to it as a strike, we call it a day of action because we want to get the message out there that the education system is in crisis, and the government needs to do something about it,” said Colin Wood, Cambridge High’s branch chair of the Post-Primary Teachers Association (PPTA), citing the huge shortfall of teachers coming into the industry, a lack of resources, 60-plus hour work weeks and falling relative income as some of the many issues.
“What we want is exactly what parents want. We want parents on board to put pressure on the government to actually make things better, not just in terms of our salaries but in terms of making the education system one which is good for New Zealand.”
The group went on to join a region-wide gathering of teachers in Hamilton, marching down Victoria Street before holding a mass rally at Garden Place.
1229 schools were closed nationwide as 50,000 teachers took part in strikes around the country, the largest in history, after the Employment Relations Authority failed to provide a date for facilitated talks with the Ministry of Education. To date, secondary school teachers have rejected three pay offers while primary school teachers have rejected four. The PPTA said further strike action could begin as early as next week if pay talks aren’t resolved.