Pay offer gets stamp of approval from primary teachers

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As primary teachers have "resoundingly" voted in favour of the Government's latest collective agreement offer, principals are rejecting theirs.

The decisions have been announced to Educational Institute members in an email this morning.

It means primary teachers will have a significant pay increase and a unified pay scale with their secondary teacher counterparts.

The vote comes after an about-turn last month, when the government lifted the pay offer by $271m, taking the total to over $1.4b.

Local primary teachers spokesperson Peter Fitzgerald says the offer for primary teachers is great.

"I'm pleased for them, they have got a very good pay offer. I'm sure it will go a long way to keeping teachers in schools and attracting new graduates.

"$90,000 at the top of the scale after teaching for about 18 years is really well worth it."

But the deal hasn't been as sweet for principals.

Mr Fitzgerald says they're still fighting for better pay and conditions.

"Under the new scale the top of base-scale teaching have had a $14,000 pay rise, which means a deputy principal in a fairly reasonable school will earn more than a principal of a three-to-eight teacher school.

"In the past principals always got more than deputy principals - because a principal's job is far more strenuous.

"Now deputy principals earn more and as a principal you have to get up to a 12-15 teacher school to earn more than a deputy.

"There's no point in anyone becoming principal when you can stay a DP and earn more money.

"It doesn't make sense, it used to be one unified pay scale. You had one teachers pay scale which included principals, deputies and teachers.

"Now they have different pay scales in different collectives for teachers and principals. The relativity, the progression through, it doesn't exist anymore."

He says the NZEI is urgently meeting with the Ministry. If there is no resolution by Monday, principals will take further action.

"There will be no further contact with the Ministry. That means no forms, no meetings, no Ministry return, no data-gathering and no implementation of new curriculum in schools."

Mr Fitzgerald says strike action is not a feasible option for principals.

"Principals are limited, if we go on strike for one day, when we come back we have to do the work we didn't do the day before."

He hopes there's a quick resolution.

"I feel for principals on a one-to-four teacher school who have been shafted, to put it bluntly."

Sam Gardner