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Over 2,000 striking teachers and their supporters marched down Auckland's Queen Street this afternoon, as their battle for fair pay and conditions with the Tory Government began. There were banners there from all of Auckland's major schools, showing a high degree of local and rank and file organisation, making the PPTA a force to be reckoned with. The PPTA strikers were supported by their close brothers and sisters in the NZEI, some of whom joined the march on solidarity in their lunch break. There were also banners from the SFWU, Unite and Socialist Aotearoa.
The one day strike was a great display of strength, but now should be followed up with rapidly escalating tactics. The Government will ignore one day strikes and use the media to vilify and demonise striking teachers. But society cannot function if schools go on indefinite strike- and its time the Nats were dealt a bloody nose by the union movement.
Text of Socialist Aotearoa leaflet
Aotearoa’s teachers already have one of the lowest starting salaries in the developed world, yet they work some of the longest hours. After 15 years’ experience, a New Zealand secondary teacher’s salary is 17% lower than the OECD average.
Socialist Aotearoa believes that education is the key to a functioning, happy society . The key to good education are well-paid teachers. Teachers in New Zealand leave the country once they have finished their degree for two reasons:
1)Education is too expensive and they are mired in debt and
2)Their salaries are too low to get rid of this debt.
The PPTA is asking for a 4% salary increase. That’s modest-
GST is rising by 2.5% so in reality it’s only a 1.5% increase.
The teachers of Queensland and South Australia have just been awarded double digit percentage pay rises.
Society, both nationally and globally, prioritises profits before people. Teachers are denied fair wages but taxes are cut for the rich, adult education is slashed but money is available for war in Afghanistan, hospitals are underfunded but banks are bailed out. We need to put people before profits. A society of well paid, rested workers and students free from poverty and violence. To do that, we need to organise the best fighters in the Union movement and the best leaders in our communities. Capitalism isn’t working- Join the Socialists!