BOT and teachers in dispute over attendance at union meeting

A dispute has arisen between been the board of trustees of St Teresa’s School, in Karori, Wellington, and its staff about the teachers attending Tuesday’s meeting of the New Zealand Educational Institute.

In a letter to parents the board said it asked that staff attend two separate meetings  – in Wellington and in Lower Hutt – but the teachers instead chose to attend the same meeting at the Michael Fowler Centre.

Its letter says the board “absolutely recognises and respects the teachers’ right to attend paid union meetings”. At the same time, it had a responsibility to pupils and families to ensure the school continued to operate as normal.

The board said it had received advice from the School Trustees Association that it was not responsible for paying relief teachers.

The teachers say the decision not to pay for relief teachers led two board members to quit.

A staff member said teachers there had not been to a paid union meeting since 2007, and it was not too much to ask for eight teachers to attend.

The staff member said: “Staff just feel upset, angry and undervalued. Teachers work many hours outside what they’re required to work.

“We just didn’t feel like we were asking too much, then to have it thrown back in our faces that we were putting ourselves before parents and students . . . we’re there because we care.”

The staff member said “it all feels very political”, particularly as the chairman of the board of trustees was National MP Nathan Guy’s brother, Christopher.

NZEI national secretary Paul Goulter said asking teachers to pay for relievers was an “inappropriate” practice that he had never heard of before.


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News category: New Zealand.

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