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Primary school paid union meetings - May 2019

We're holding a round of joint paid union meetings for all teachers covered by the Primary Teachers Collective Agreement and all principals covered by the Primary Principals Collective Agreement during the week of 6 May 2019. 

We decided to call these meetings as it's important for members to get an opportunity to come together collectively to discuss our many different ideas and opinions about what to do next, so that we can make informed, shared decisions.

About paid union meetings

NZEI members discuss issues and conduct votes at paid union meetings. NZEI staff and local delegates will run a paid union meeting for each area. They will usually discuss what has been happening, pass out any necessary information, and ask members if they have any questions. If you need to vote, this will be done with a show of hands or written vote.

Good to know

  • As a union member, you are entitled to attend at least two paid union meetings per year.
  • If you'd normally be working while the paid union meeting is on, you are entitled to be paid up to 2 hours of your ordinary pay.  But if you attend a meeting outside of your normal work hours, then you can't claim pay for that time.
  • Sign in to the meeting as you arrive so that there's proof you attended. Without that proof, you cannot be paid for the time at the meeting.
  • The two hours includes time to travel to and from the meeting. We try to keep our meetings to one hour - this gives you thirty minutes either side to get to and from work. Some branches and area councils organise transport to check with your local branch to see if they'll help arrange transport.
  • If your Board decides to maintain operations at the school while the paid union meeting is on, your first option is to ask any non-member teachers at the school to supervise classes. Non-members are not entitled to attend a paid union meeting. However, in some cases some union members may need to stay at school. Deciding who needs to stay behind should be the members' choice, not the employer's.
  • As noted , non-members are not entitled to attend. If you are a non-member and want to be a part of this discussion, it only takes a few minutes to join up. You need to be a full (financial) member on the day of the paid union meeting, or your pay may be docked.

Advice for principals

The Employment Relations Act gives union members the right to attend two paid union meetings a year but also requires that schools remain open during paid union meetings.

To balance these two legal obligations, check out this short video by Mark Potter - a principal on the NZEI National Executive.