Campaign, negotiation, and claims

In 2018, teachers and principals in primary and area schools will negotiate their next collective agreement. This process is about deciding on how your collective agreement—the agreement between employees and the Ministry of Education—will look for the next two years. Members are clear: we want to make teaching an attractive and valued profession.

Find out how you can play your part in this campaign.

On this page

The campaign plan

Teachers and principals have consistently raised high workloads, lack of support for students with additional learning and behavioural needs, and undervaluing of the profession as key issues over the last few years. We have tried to address these issues through previous rounds of negotiations and through work programmes.

Although we've made some progress, it has been insufficient to address the deep-seated and fundamental issues facing our profession. This has led to a crisis in recruitment and retention of teachers and principals.

So our Kua Tae Te Wā/It’s Time campaign has been launched to achieve the significant investment we need so that all children can reach their potential, and teaching is an attractive, valued and well-supported profession.

Together we need to build strong community support to ensure the government understands that this crisis can only be solved by major investment.

We will do this by:

  1. Talking with parents and explain how the crisis will affect their children’s learning.
  2. Speaking out to the media and on social media about our campaign.
  3. Meeting with MPs and other people who can influence change to ask them to support us.

Once we have run a successful campaign, we will be able to negotiate with the Ministry of Education to deliver new staffing and resourcing to all schools as well as improvements to our collective agreements.

What you can do now

Here's how to stay up to date on the campaign, and how you can take part.

Get your colleagues on board

Discuss this campaign and the plan with your colleagues. Make sure you've got a plan to take part in any meetings or activities.

Check if any of your colleagues need to join NZEI. It only takes a few minutes to join up.

Participate in campaign activity during Term 2

We need to make this campaign meaningful to parents and community members and ask them to support our call to Government to make major new investment in education. That means we need all schools to talk with their communities about the issues we are facing and how these ideas could address them.

All our campaign activity will be focused on this: building community understanding and active support!

Come to meetings

During the campaign, there'll be paid union meetings for primary and area teachers and principals. We're now setting dates for our second round of PUMs in June.

Keep an eye on your email and social media to find out when they'll be happening. We'll give you plenty of notice so that you can plan ahead.

Stay up to date

Make sure you keep up with campaign activity by keeping an eye on our website, your email, and social media.

Watch out for these hashtags: #ItsTime #KuaTaeTeWa #NZEI

Claims and negotiations

Our recent survey showed a very high level of support for taking a different approach to these negotiations, by focussing on just a few key issues. From this, we have developed four objectives that we will be taking into negotiations.

For teachers and principals in primary schools these objectives and possible solutions will form the basis for negotiating to renew the collective agreements.

For teachers and principals in area schools, we will be seeking a variation to introduce changes to the collective agreements before they expire and so you receive improvements at the same time as primary teachers and principals.

There are four main issues we're focusing on:

  • the crisis in education
  • time and workload
  • issues with salary and relativities
  • career development

Fixing the teacher shortage crisis

Schools are struggling to attract and retain great teachers. There is also a drop in the number of people choosing to train as teachers. This is happening because of years of political undervaluing of the profession. It won't just fix itself.

What we want

  • Significant pay increases for teachers and principals over the course of the agreement.

Draft solution

  • A 16% pay rise over the two years of this agreement.
  • A renewal of the pay parity clauses ensuring that primary teachers aren't worse off than their post-primary colleagues


Time to teach, time to lead

Teachers and principals are facing immense pressure thanks to enormous workloads and more responsibilities without any additional staffing or time.

There aren't enough resources available for supporting children with additional learning needs.

Teachers and principals need time to teach, and time to lead.

What we want

  • Significant increases to staffing available to all schools to support leaders, classroom teachers and teachers working with students with additional learning needs.

Draft solution

  • A new teacher staffing and resourcing entitlement for schools to employ and train a SENCO.
  • More resource teacher positions nationwide, to better reflect student need.
  • Reducing the teacher:student ratio for year 4-8 students from 1:29 down to 1:25.
  • Ensuring that all schools have a minimum of 2 full time equivalent staff.
  • Increasing the professional leadership staffing entitlement for schools
  • Replace classroom release time (CRT) with Professional Practice Time (PPT) equivalent to 20 hours per full time equivalent teacher per term.
  • More teacher resourcing for each class to give the regular teacher time to complete professional responsibilities, such as assessment, that are difficult to do whilst responsible for a class.

Fixing issues with relativities and career development

Options for career development can vary a lot from school to school, which means that teachers aren't getting the same chances to grow in the profession.

At the moment, there are some issues with relativity, and there is limited recognition for teachers and principals with specialist skills.

Both these factors are contributing to the teacher shortage crisis.

What needs to change

  • Fix existing pay arrangements for principals
  • Fix existing relativity issues
  • Create meaningful new career options for teachers and principals

Draft solution

  • Fold U1 and U2 U-Grade principal salary into U3 to address an immediate relativity issue
  • Allow Communities of Learning to share the leadership allowance with multiple leaders, including people covered by the PTCA
  • Remove the qualification based salary cap for primary teachers
  • Inreoduce recognition for teachers working in Pasifika immersion settings
  • Fully recognise expertise in tikanga and te reo Maōri
  • Recognise expertise in special education
  • Then move to focussing on curriculum specialisation