Teachers union not negotiating in 'good faith' says Education Minister

Drive 15/08/2018

If your household was disrupted by the teacher's strike, get ready for more.

Tens of thousands of teachers rallied all over the country on Wednesday in their first full-day strike for 24 years.

The Government's adamant the offer they've made is fair. However teachers are unwilling to compromise, and are threatening a two-day strike if they don't get what they want from the Government.

The union wants a 16 percent pay rise, but it also wants more support teaching those with learning difficulties and smaller class sizes.

"As an across the board increase, I think that would be unaffordable," says Education Minister Chris Hipkins told RadioLIVE Drive.

The Government is committed to going back to the negotiating table, but says the offer as it stands is fair. That offer would boost the top-scale salary to just over $80,000, and an entry salary to just over $55,000.

Teachers are refusing to back down, and a vote to escalate their protest to a future two-day strike was met with thunderous support.

They hope the threat of the strike will force the Government to make more of an effort to meet their demands.

"We're frustrated, we've had a gutsful - I've poured my heart out [for] 18 years in the profession," one teacher told Newshub.

"I haven't done it for money, I've done it for the love and passion of the kids I've taught... I've got nothing left - we're sucked dry people, we're sucked dry."

Listen to the full interview with Chris Hipkins above.

Drive with Ryan Bridge and Paula Penfold, filling in for Lisa Owen, 3pm - 6pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.