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Paid union meetings

Following the cancellation of the paid union meetings planned for the week beginning 18 March, and further discussions with member leaders in Christchurch, NZEI's National Executive has decided to run an electronic ballot to allow primary school teacher and principal members to respond to the Ministry's current offers.

The paid union meetings planned for area school teachers during the week beginning 25 March have also been cancelled. Area school teacher members will now hold joint site meetings after school with their PPTA colleagues to discuss and vote on endorsing their claim for upcoming collective agreement negotiations.

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 paid time off to attend
    a paid union meeting. In some cases this may mean some union members need to stay at school. Deciding who needs to stay behind should be the members' choice, not the employer's.
  • Non-members are not entitled to attend. If you 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.