50,000 teachers on strike in New Zealand

50,000 teachers on strike in New Zealand

Agency News

Wellington, May 29: More than 50,000 primary and high school teachers have gone on strike in the biggest industrial action ever seen in New Zealand’s schools

Since a Labour coalition took power in late 2017, teachers have held three strikes calling for pay rises, better working conditions and more respect for their profession. But Wednesday’s one-day strike is the first time primary and high school teachers have united in action, dubbing Wednesday’s protest a "mega-strike".

The protesters have so far turned down three pay rise offers from the government of 3 per cent, and say they want 15 per cent or more to continue their work. But the government says it has no more money to give.

"Teachers are overwhelmed and we don’t have time to teach. That is a huge struggle. And there is a huge crisis in New Zealand in terms of a teacher shortage. We want the government to invest in the future of teachers and the country’s children – we’re sick of Band-Aid solutions," The Guardian quoted a teacher.

More than 700,000 children have been affected by the strike, with many parents forced to take time off work, or take children to work with them. Some local recreation spaces such as libraries and swimming pools were running programmes for children while others were joining their parents in the protests.