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 government 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%, and say they want 15% or more to continue their work. But the government says it has no more money to give.
Khali Oliveira, a primary teacher at Gladstone primary in Auckland, said the strike was a last resort. Oliveira has been a teacher for more than 20 years and said burnout was becoming common-place. If the teachers’ demands were not met she would be forced to quit and work in the private sector.