More teacher strikes loom after Ardern’s comments

DARK SIDE: Three construction workers singing "we don't need no education" from Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall as teachers marched past their work site.

Primary and intermediate school teachers may ramp up their strike action following criticism from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

At least 3000 primary and intermediate school teachers and principals from around the city went on strike yesterday for the first time since 1994.

Crowds, which included teachers, principals, parents, support staff and children, gathered in Cathedral Square from 11am before three marches left at noon.

It is one of dozens of rallies around the country, aiming to get a 16 per cent pay rise over the next two years and improved working conditions.

New Zealand Educational Institute lead negotiator Liam Rutherford said the issues are new for Ms Ardern’s Government, but were long-standing for teachers. “The time of neglecting teachers and students is over,” he said. The group chanted “what do we want, more teachers. When do we want them, now” as it headed down Worcester St.

But Ms Ardern told Stuff the strikes were premature and they had left the negotiating table too soon. “When you compare where we were with the nurses
. . . there were four offers in total before they made that decision. In this case, there has been one, so I think there were still conversations to be had.”

In response, teachers mooted the idea of further strikes, which would be two days long.

However, any more industrial action would require a further ballot from union members.

PROTEST: 11-year-old Taylor Blackburn took part in the strike in Cathedral Square.

ACTION: Teachers, parents and pupils were out in force demanding more pay and better working conditions.

SUPPORT: Crowds gathered in Cathedral Square from 11am yesterday before marching the central city.