NZEI Industrial Action - 15 August 2018 Last week I raised the issue of NZEI's Industrial Action. I explained, as I have done before, that the decision to take strike action is a serious one. It rests on the strong belief that the profession has been undervalued for a long time; that the rejected pay offer would do nothing to lift the morale or status of the profession; and that the workforce shortages we are experiencing are in large part due to the inadequate pay rates and unrealistic expectations. In particular, meeting the needs of our severely challenged young people without the necessary support has become intolerable for many. If these problems are not addressed, we will be facing further workforce shortages in the future as it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract young people into teacher training.
I also explained that I have received many messages from principals asking about procedural matters in relation to paying or not paying staff on the strike day. I put your questions to NZEI, NZSTA and the Ministry and published their responses in Principal Matters 20.
Since last week, there are now revised responses from the Ministry and several amendments to the Joint MoE/NZSTA Guidance on strike action.
Below is the latest information from the Ministry: Here are the amended guidelines for boards “Boards and Strike Action”, in response to further questions from the sector about the process. The amendments are intended to clarify responsibilities and the specific point of contact within the school in relation to these matters. It is the responsibility of a duly delegated representative of the board of trustees (the Chair by default) to sign off the strike action documentation. The amendments confirm that EPL will send a form to each school to enable the school to advise the Ministry, via EPL, if any union members did not participate in the strike (e.g. were on sick or bereavement leave), rather than on strike. The form will be sent to the school’s Authorised User with the highest level of access. It is the responsibility of the board’s duly delegated representative to sign the form on behalf of the board, and return it by 5 pm on 16 August (the day after the strike). The specific guidance suggested for boards about the steps to be followed, reflected in EPL documentation and the attached guidance, is set out below. 1. EPL will email a spreadsheet (referred to as Strike Action Form in the Guidelines) to the Authorised User with the highest level of access at each school first thing on Wednesday morning. 2. The email will provide instructions on how to complete the spreadsheet. 3. The password to access the spreadsheet is the MOE number for the Authorised User to whom the email was sent. 4. The Authorised User is to forward the email to the duly delegated representative of the board to sign. 5. Authorised Users will need to provide the duly delegated representative with details of who was not on strike, and the hours that the part-time teachers would normally have worked on the day of the strike. 6. If your board hasn’t received the email by the end of 16 August, please contact your Authorised User immediately. 7. Failure to return the spreadsheet will mean that all union members are deemed to be on strike, and deductions will be made. 8. All information is to be electronically returned to email@example.com by 5pm 16 August 2018.
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