We're not going to debate the merits or otherwise of the revised offer which was placed in front of the PPTA; we're not sufficiently au fait with the situation. However we do suspect that the PPTA was never going to agree to settle.
The Herald reported yesterday on the breakdown of negotiations and the resumption of the rolling strikes. In particular this comment caught our eye (our emphasis added):
PPTA president Kate Gainsford said that after three days of negotiations there had been no substantial shift since the Government's initial offer in June.
Teachers were offered a half-per cent pay increase in the first year, a 1.9 per cent increase in the second year, a one-off payment of $1000 and an additional 3000 middle management allowances worth $1000 each
That compared with an earlier offer of no increase in the first year, a 1.8 per cent increase in the second, and the one-off payment.
A claw-back in teacher conditions was still on the table, and a previous offer of preparation time for part-time teachers had been taken away, Ms Gainsford said.
The offer did not go far enough and fell flat with the PPTA national executive, she said.
So are we reading this right. Was it the PPTA EXECUTIVE who decided to resume strike action, which will have an adverse effect on students preparing for NCEA exams? If that is indeed the case, why was the revised offer not taken back to the members?
We smell a rat. We have a sneaking suspicion that there will be many secondary teachers who have major reservations over the refusal by their union to teach groups of students in this most critical time of the school year. So have they actually had a say in this latest decision? Or has the decision been made on their behalf by the PPTA executive, traditionally no friend of National governments?
The cynic in us suggests that the latter applies, and we don't find that particularly comforting. The success of our students at exam time is too important to be playing political games with, in our humble opinion. We would value feedback from secondary teachers, be they PPTA members or not. Feel free to have your say here.