Government challenged by teacher strikes

Jacinda Ardern criticised teachers for striking ‘too soon’, rearranged her diary in order to speak to a crowd of protesting teachers at Parliament, but one response from teachers was to follow up with a two day strike to keep the pressure on the Government.

Minister of Education Chris Hipkins, long a champion of teachers’ unions, seems out of his comfort zone under ‘friendly’ fire. Gezza commented:

From the comments he made in a sound bite on 1ewes last night, Hipkins sounded very disappointed and annoyed with the teachers at their protest outside Parliament that day, as though they were an ungrateful lot, and wondered if his testy attitude in this exchange showed that, while Ardern can hack it, he was feeling the pressure !

Stuff: Jacinda Ardern changes her mind, and meets teachers at Parliament

Jacinda Ardern watched the thousands of teachers “streaming” to Parliament to protest pay and conditions and decided she had to address them.

The prime minister had said this morning she was unavailable to meet the thousands of striking primary and intermediate teachers, but would be sending senior ministers.

But Ardern appeared, unscheduled, alongside Education Minister Chris Hipkins at the march and asked them for more time to solve their concerns

The education minister addressed the large crowd, acknowledging the tough decision many had made to be there.

“They are raising some raising some serious and legitimate concerns beyond pay to things like workload and the conditions they face in their schools.

“While he said the Government was listening “very carefully” to educators and their plight, however fronting additional money remained off the table.”

“I would prefer if we spent some time around the negotiating table working through all of the issues that teachers have raised before they start talking about more strike action.”

I’m sure Hipkins would prefer talking in private to teacher unions – this is just the opening round from primary school teachers, with secondary teachers likely to be lining up too for substantial pay rises.

Primary teachers are asking for a 16% increase.

Ardern tried to get onside ny playing the ‘care about children’ card:

Ardern said her motivation in politics was the welfare of children, the same thing that motivated most teachers.

“I don’t see them and us, I just see us.”

There is very much a them and us over wage negotiations.

Tracy Watkins: Will she, won’t she? PM Jacinda Ardern’s political gamble with teachers

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s decision to front the teacher unions as they marched on Parliament was supposedly a last minute change of heart.

She had earlier told Stuff she would not be available. But apparently Ardern was moved by the sight of thousands of people streaming through Parliament’s gate.

As a political gesture to placate some of those teachers, parents, and supporters who descended on Parliament to voice their anger, it probably worked.

But Ardern’s appeal to them as fellow members of a common cause may have jarred with some as a case of the Government talking out of both sides of its mouth.

Reading the placards, Ardern reminded the marchers she sympathised with their intent  – even while the Government has been talking tough on the teachers demands.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has all but labelled the teacher play claims as unreasonable and Ardern stoked the fires on Wednesday when she implied in an interview with Stuff that teachers had been too precipitous in launching strike action after just one round of negotiations.

But Ardern’s attempt to sweet talk the teachers doesn’t seem to have worked.

NZH: Teachers look for new pay offer to avert further strike

Primary teachers are looking for a new offer from the Government to stave off a potential two-day strike after a successful first strike today.

NZ Educational Institute lead negotiator Liam Rutherford said the union was willing to negotiate when it meets Ministry of Education officials again on Thursday and Friday next week, but it expected the ministry to give some ground.

“It’s the job of the ministry to bring an offer that they think is going to be addressing our issues to the table,” he said.

“We are going to be hoping that the effect of having 30,000 teachers and parents in support out on the street will have led to some movement.”

He said the union’s strategy had been led by the members, who wanted to strike because they were frustrated by the ministry’s “insulting” first offer.

“It was the teachers of this country that asked to turn a proposed half-day strike into a full-day strike,” he said.

Now they are talking of a follow-up two day strike.

It’s usually quite easy for Ardern and Hipkins to brush off attacks from their political Opposition, but this friendly fire from teachers could be somewhat more challenging for them.

Ardern’s championing of children in particular make things difficult, with teachers claiming that their pay claims are necessary for the good of the children.

Speaking at the protest yesterday may have had a temporary calming effect, but teachers seem to be on a mission regardless.


As an aside, a teacher playing the baby card – or more accurately. Using family of a politician in a campaign, was probably inevitable given the attention that has been given to Ardern’s baby…

…but this is a troubling sign.

20 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  August 16, 2018

    As an aside, a teacher playing the baby card – or more accurately, using family of a politician in a campaign, was probably inevitable given the attention that has been given to Ardern’s baby…but this is a troubling sign.

    Actually, that’s a very clever strategy. And very much to the point.

    Jacinda is milking the baby (excuse the pun) for all it’s worth. The Opposition can’t really do this in response – but there’s a little reminder that it might backfire sometimes.

    • Pink David

       /  August 16, 2018

      Well, she hasn’t been shy about seeing the advantages of a little human shield. If I was cynical I would say that was a large motivation behind her timing. If I was cynical….

      • PartisanZ

         /  August 16, 2018

        No, you’d have to be more than cynical to think that … You’d have to be unwell …

        • robertguyton

           /  August 16, 2018

          Or perhaps … daft?

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  August 16, 2018

            Now who’s dishing out personal slights ?

            ‘Do that which I say, not that which I do.’ ?

            • robertguyton

               /  August 16, 2018

              But not slighting you , Kitty. Am I.

            • robertguyton

               /  August 16, 2018

              Whadda ya think of Alan’s “Strewth, got to spell everything out for the children do I?”
              Good-as?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  August 16, 2018

              Good as what ?

            • Gezza

               /  August 16, 2018

              Whadda ya think of Alan’s “Strewth, got to spell everything out for the children do I?”

              Don’t you worry about that nonsense, robert. I’ve administered him a good kick in the goolies for that one! (Metaphorically speaking, unless I get up to Northland again sometime.)

              I’m not putting up with that sort of rot! 😡

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  August 16, 2018

    Strike 1. Three strikes and you’re out, Jacinda.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  August 16, 2018

      Technically this is already strike 3 (Nurses and IRD/MBIE were 1 & 2).

    • robertguyton

       /  August 16, 2018

      Jacinda’ll hit a home run as a result of these strikes; already the nurses are happy; bet they’ll vote Left. Teachers will too; who’s next?

      • PDB

         /  August 16, 2018

        Just preaching to the converted Robert – no new votes for the left in those areas.

    • Gezza

       /  August 16, 2018

      Righto Wilkinson – looks like you buggered off to bed before you got another whopping last night. Your sloganesque one-liners are not good enuf. Pathetic amount of effort went in to these ones.
      .. … …
      Gezza / August 15, 2018
      Most teachers are in the union & they & their partners are voters. I’m not sure at this point whether there’ll be a lot of public hostility to teacher strikes from anyone other than the usual suspects – right wing voters.

      One of the teachers who got a sound bite on 1ewes made the point that they don’t just teach – they are the folk who look after other people’s kids for them 5 days a week.

      Alan Wilkinson / August 15, 2018
      Your last point is the sociological inertia that keeps them in a job.

      Gezza / August 15, 2018
      WTF?

      Alan Wilkinson / August 15, 2018
      Child minding is the outstanding problem restricting technological innovation in education.

      Gezza / August 15, 2018
      Not sure what you mean, Al. That’s very vague.

      What do you mean by that in concrete terms, & what are your proposed to solutions to the:

      1. Child minding ‘problem’, &
      2. Lack, or restriction, of technological innovation in education?
      … … …

      Front up & explain these brain farts as requested, please.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  August 16, 2018

        Strewth, got to spell everything out for the children do I?

        Technology now means you can learn from the best, wherever they are and whenever they taught. You are not stuck with that nasty, useless Latin teacher the school decided to foist on you. You can potentially enrol in any school or college on the planet or pick and choose specific courses to suit your needs.

        Except that the old world is not ready to allow autonomy or to manage it. It is focused on making young people infantile and irresponsible for longer, not the opposite. It is not ready to give up its education system as jailers/child minders while parents work. We need to take it by the scruff of the neck and knock sense into it. New systems will be necessary.

        • Gezza

           /  August 16, 2018

          Well why didn’t simply say all that earlier? What are you – a moron with a PHD?
          Nobody’s a bloody mind reader, dinglebunny.

          So you want to hand over all responsibility for full time child-minding & education to kids & their parents including the Religiious nuts, foreigners, druggies, ferals & gangstas.

          Hope you have already submitted your plan outline to the Education Review Working Group?

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  August 16, 2018

            Too obvious to bother. I should charge the clueless for unnecessary explanations. Good joke about the Education Review Working Group who won’t even be allowed to mention charter schools let alone anything more menacing to teacher unionists.

            • Gezza

               /  August 16, 2018

              Typical for you to look at the issue through a microscope instead of a wide angle lens.

              What was your PhD thesis on?

    • Blazer

       /  August 16, 2018

      not with butter fingers ,Bridges playing.

  1. Government challenged by teacher strikes — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition