18 Oct 2010

Key disappointed at PPTA's rejection of pay offer

10:00 pm on 18 October 2010

Prime Minister John Key says it's very disappointing that the secondary-school teachers' union is resuming industrial action.

The Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) has rejected the Ministry of Education's pay offer of a 2.4% pay rise delivered over two years, plus a one-off payment of $1000, and will strike again this week.

Mr Key says that it's a good offer, and better than some accepted by other large public-sector groups.

The ministry also says it's disappointed that the PPTA has refused what it calls an excellent pay offer. Its workforce group manager, Fiona McTavish, says the offer is at the top end of pay rises for public servants.

Mr Key says the Government does not have a lot of money to play with at the moment.

Union holding out for 4%

The union put strike action on hold last week after the ministry made a revised offer but announced on Monday that three days of talks had not produced a deal it could take to members.

PPTA president Kate Gainsford says teachers understand the need for fiscal restraint but the ministry's offer does not go far enough towards meeting the claim of the union, which wants 4% and a cap on class sizes.

Union members will refuse to teach Year 9 students on Wednesday and Year 11s on Thursday. Similar action is planned for each week of the current school term.

Ms McTavish says the ministry's focus is now on helping schools and parents cope with the industrial action.