Exhausted teachers clinging on for the last few weeks, tapping out reports at home on your dining room tables, this poem is for you.
“Today’s announcement that the National Government will effectively nationalise Novopay, is an indictment on National’s blinkered ‘market knows best’ ideology and the entire teaching force are owed an apology,” Green Party Co leader Metiria Turei said.
“Teachers have been through hell for the last two years, while the Government has continued to deny there is even a real problem.
“Just a few weeks ago Finance Minister Bill English was blaming the principals’ collective agreements for Novopay’s problems, saying Novopay was as good as it can get and ‘it can be improved now only by making the underlying collective agreements less complicated than they are’.
“Now National is saying that Novopay is so dysfunctional it needs to nationalise the whole system – well which story is the one they want to stick to?
“It is well known that National wants to bulk fund teacher salaries and this is the obvious next threat on the horizon. With the Government in charge of teacher pay, National must not be allowed to use the Novopay fiasco to make this happen.
“Teachers have endured two years of hell, never knowing from one week to the next if they’ll get paid or what they’ll get paid and they need to be assured that the bulk funding nightmare is not set to follow that.
“Teachers are owed an apology and the promise of full and proper compensation for any losses. “It now looks like the people of New Zealand will be tens of millions out of pocket from this fiasco. Talent 2 must be made to pay the costs of any expenses the taxpayer or any individual teachers have incurred, any less is to let them off the hook.
‘The fact is there was a perfectly good payroll system operating before Novopay came along and National’s attempts to get a bargain basement deal are at the heart of this
whole fiasco. “Of course Novopay needs to be dealt with once and for all – teachers’ deserve nothing less – but they have been put through hell and I doubt they’ll ever forget that,” Mrs Turei said.
NZEI Te Riu Roa wants the Government to produce the details of its $360-million “executive principal” and “expert teacher” package so it can discuss the proposals with members.
NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter says teachers and principals are extremely cynical about the new package because it totally ignores the biggest problem in our education system – the one in four kids who live in poverty and the impact of that on New Zealand’s student success.
The National Executive met this evening to discuss the teachers’ and principals’ reaction to the proposal and the next steps after holding earlier meetings with members around the country.
“The feedback from our members has been very clear. They have seen no evidence that the proposal will lift student success.
“They are not happy about the process and lack of consultation.
“What happens now is that we expect the Government to make a claim to vary our teacher and principal collective agreements to allow for the introduction of the new roles.
“We will be taking the whole package back to our members so for the first time they can see the whole proposal.
“Our National Executive is asking our members to give a clear direction on whether they want negotiations to vary the collective agreements to commence or whether they want nothing to do with the new roles.
“Our members will decide those next steps at a series of paid union meetings to be held following the receipt of the Government’s claims.”