New pay offer for the balding, grey haired, khaki pant wearing teacher.

I do hope that young teachers don’t fall for the PR spin put on the latest pay offer.

While I would like to think that the last few weeks the government and the PPTA have been negotiating a deal, it seems they were just working on a PR campaign to make everyone look like a winner.
Like all these things the devil is in the detail. And the detail of this pay proposal is that this is a pay offer for the balding, grey haired, khaki pant wearing teacher.

It gets a big tick for those…
in the PPTA union,
on top of the scale,
with a unit. They are the ones who get all the benefits.

Chris Hipkins has said there is a 18.5% pay increase to teachers. Yes, that is true if you are on the top of the scale. However, according to my reading of the new agreement, if you are a 3rd year secondary teacher, with no units, you will get 3% each year, over the next three years. The same offer that was on the table 3 weeks ago – which was pushed back by PPTA members.

The key aspects of the new deal, with my opinions, are below;

  • A lump sum payment of $1500 for union members only.
    This should not be allowed! How would people feel if National offered a $1500 lump sum for those not in the union? Union participation is a choice for teachers. It should not be bargained with bribes.
  • A new top step salary rate of $90,000 from July 2021.
    Good idea. Who wouldn’t complain?
  • Salary rises around 3 percent on 1 July this year and each of the next two years.
    This is exactly the same offer as before. The PPTA should have pushed for 3.5% and inline with expected wage increases over the next few years. This would help those towards the bottom of the scale. It also would have set a precedent for the future.
  • Units moving to $5000, MMAs and SMAs to $2000 on 28 January 2020.
    Great news – if you have a unit!
  • 1000 new Units from the start of 2020.
    While it sounds good, it probably means about 1 extra unit per school.
  • The deal also removes performance appraisal. This is really poor. In my opinion any profession that doesn’t have some sort of appraisal system it letting their workforce and their customers down. In our case – the students. We need a robust, relevant, coordinated, professional appraisal system. Spend money on setting that up. Teachers look like they want all the money but don’t want to be accountable!

Finally, as expected there was nothing in the new deal to address teacher workload. This was a major concern by thousands of teachers and it has not been addressed.
Saying that the new NCEA system will reduce workload will be music to a primary school teacher ears!!! To secondary teachers, all you have to do is ask primary teachers if getting rid of National Standards has reduced their workload.

So it will be interesting to see the way PPTA members vote. If they accept the deal then effectively they are say is that they were after money all along. All the mantra about it ‘not being about the money’ will have just been rhetoric.
If they don’t accept the offer then it s a clear message to the PPTA Executive that more needs to be done around teacher workload and well being.


  1. Great work Shem,
    I actually left the union (and never went back) after a similar ‘wool over the eyes’ deal back in 2002 that focused on the main union members only I.e. long term, top scale, career teachers. Who usually wear khaki and knee high socks.
    Ignored were specialist teachers, those lacking a degree and the big one – beginning teachers with an aim towards recruitment and retention.
    Sounds like the same deal here. Disappointing.
    Have a great day

  2. Kia ora Shem

    Yes, it looks like the “new” deal being offered is designed to make everybody involved look like a winner. Very little significant change (unless you are at top of scale with units) from previous offer. Very little for the beginning teacher – where are the recruitment and retention incentives?

    With respect to your opinion points (you know I couldn’t let this opportunity go past without comment)
    * Lump sum payment: If a group of people have paid an organisation to negotiate a better deal for them, then I don’t have a problem with those people receiving an incentive if that better deal is rolled out to “non members”. If there is no incentive to pay to negotiate a better deal, then a better deal will not be negotiated and the Governments offer will be the accepted offer!! Teachers would be even more poorly paid.
    * Salary rise of 3%. Agreed. It is virtually the same as before. Problem is that the figure is lumped into a 3 year agreement, so sounds large to the general population (around 10%). If the Government has “reached its limit” of financial input, then fine. Make it 3.5% this year (as you suggest) and re-negotiate again next year – i.e. make the agreement 12 months
    * Appraisal. While the deal may remove performance appraisal, it does NOT remove performance attestation. I agree with you, there needs to be a rigorous system for ensuring high performance by teachers. The appraisal system (particularly where you work) was taking on a life of its own that was consuming a lot of teacher time unnecessarily (IMHO).

    Workload IS by far the greatest dis-incentive to being a teacher. Can that be addressed within a collective agreement? Not sure; certainly non-contacts can be, but they are only of value when they are not taken for relief and other duties.

    Anyway, an interesting and thought provoking article, Shem. Good on you for expressing your thoughts – some of which I agree with and some of which I do not.

    All the best

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