New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association / Te Wehengarua (PPTA) President Angela Roberts address to the 2013 Annual Conference.
‘Joining the dots’ - Repelling threats to public education and attacks on workers’ rights
President's Speech to PPTA Annual Conference 2013 – Repelling threats to public education and attacks on workers’ rights – ‘Joining the dots’
E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā hau e whā. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.
Kia Orana, Talofa lava. Taloha Ni, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Ni sa bula vinaka, Malo e lelei.
Greetings to you all on this great Wellington day.
Wow – what a year!
When we met 12 months ago the first Novopay payslips were starting to trickle through, or not trickle through as the case was for more than 20% of members. Lesley Longstone was still Secretary for Education despite feeling immense pressure from an increasingly toxic relationship with the Minister. Schools were still hung-over from the class size debacle. The Association was exposing the charter schools book of lies. We only suspected the Government had plans to dismantle the Teachers Council and re-build it with a shonky outlet with stronger alignment to the Government. And bargaining for our major Collective Agreements were still weeks from starting.
I often wonder what would happen to public education in New Zealand without the PPTA whanau keeping a close watch on the myriad of sharks that roam the sector in search of that next morsel. Each slash of their teeth comes at the expense of our students, who deserve much more than to have their futures gouged by these profit-taking neoliberal edupreneurs.
But this year the attacks we face are not just targeted at public education. Workers face a hostile assault on their workplace rights. And by workers I don’t just mean those, like our students, who have jobs close to the minimum wage – the proposed amendments to the Employment Relations Act strike at that the heart of a union’s core business of collective bargaining. They will ripple through to our members in their own employment relations and into their classrooms through the impacts they will have on our local communities.