December 10, 2023

Principals vote in favour of work ban – here’s how it will affect schools

The work ban on most Ministry-related work comes after 50,000 teachers and principals held a one-day 'mega-strike' three weeks ago. Pictured: Mātauranga House in Te Whanganui a Tara/Wellington.

Principals at primary and area schools around the motu have voted for a work ban until Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga/Ministry of Education meets them halfway.

NZEI Te Riu Roa union principals make up the vast majority of primary and area school principals nationwide – and last night they voted to strike from the first day of term 2 on April 24.

They want the Ministry to put up a better offer that addresses their ongoing concerns.

Negotiation lead for primary principals, Lynda Stuart, said the Government hasn’t listened.

“The results of the vote tell you what you need to know; our members have had enough.”

The work ban includes: stopping Ministry-related work, such as implementing new Ministry initiatives like the curriculum refresh, information collection, as well as working weekends or outside weekday hours of 8am to 5pm.

The strike does not include: weekday board meetings, liaising with learning support specialist staff, property staff, or the rollout of the new Aotearoa New Zealand histories curriculum.

Stuart said the workload isn’t sustainable and they want more support.

“We need the long-standing issues around pay disparity to be addressed to ensure that we can attract great leaders into our schools.”

It comes after primary and area school principals rejected the Ministry’s second offer in February.

Negotiations with Te Riu Roa NZEI kicked off in June last year.

Three weeks ago, primary and area school principals joined teachers from all school levels – including kindergartens – for a one-day ‘mega-strike’.

Stuart says they do not take these actions lightly.

“We want to do our jobs and do our jobs well, but we need things to change and we need that change now.”

The work stoppage applies to principals who fall under the collective agreements for both primary and area schools.

The Ministry of Education has been contacted for comment.

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