Striking the Match

Finn Blackwell – 10/08/2018

With growing unrest in government service employees, it’s no surprise that on the third of July of this year, the New Zealand Educational Institute announced to go on strike in the following month. Now, the time is upon us and, next week, hundreds of primary school teachers will go on strike, in an effort to protest wages throughout the New Zealand schooling system that they call inadequate.

Of course, we have already seen instances of civil servants being unhappy with their wage rate, as last month almost 30,000 nurses across the country walked out of hospitals to voice their displeasure with the amount of pay they were offered. With so many teachers preparing to leave classes throughout New Zealand, many primary school students will be effectively without an education for as long as the strike lasts. As students of Kristin, it’s strange to imagine perhaps a favourite teacher packing their desk and walking out of the class room for even more than a single lesson.

Nurses Protest
Nurses strikes occurred across the country last month in protest of unfair pay

When asked his thoughts on the strike Principal David Boardman commented “Personally, I always find the decision to go on strike quite a contentious one. Although I see the need and do feel that teachers, for a long time now, have been in need of a good pay rise and recognition of the work that they do.”

Mr Boardman continue by saying “I’m always slightly regretful when it gets to the point where it has to go for striking action because at the end of the day it’s the students who miss out as they miss days of schooling, which obviously then has a knock on effect, it has a huge economic impact on the surrounding area. I’d far prefer it to be sorted out before it got to that point”

When asked how he would react if teachers at Kristin threatened to go on strike, Mr Boardman replied “Again, being an independent school, we’re quite different, as a huge portion of our staff are on individual contracts. We are linked to the state pay scale, not directly on it but we are linked to it. We do have some teachers who are members of the union, and they can negotiate their conditions of work on a regular cycle, but the pay is linked to the PPPA state sector”.

With this outcry for increased wages throughout the workforce, it seems that New Zealand is in need of a readjustment in how we pay our public service providers, as many of them offer crucial aid in their field of expertise. It seems baffling that people doing work that can be viewed as integral to the very foundations of society (education, healthcare etc.) are still paid at meagre rates in comparison to the work that they do.

With the teachers strike due to take place next Wednesday, the country and its students will have to wait with baited breath to see whether or not the government will concede to the demands of these teachers or if classrooms will continue to remain empty as the strike rages on.

Whatever happens you can be sure we’ll keep you up to date here on The Daily Dove.


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