This section of the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association / Te Wehengarua (PPTA) annual report for the 2010 - 2011 year provides an overview of PPTA membership activities over the year.
While the steady rise in PPTA membership over the last few years is a source of affirmation and satisfaction, a high level of membership does not tell the whole story. It is critical that it is matched by equally high levels of membership engagement and activism. The heart of the union lies in membership activities, nationally, regionally and in the branch.
National membership activity
PPTA Annual Conference
Annual conference held annually at the end of September is the supreme decision making body in the Association. In 2010 annual conference considered papers on:
Other events organised by PPTA over the last year include the Edscapes Professional conference held in April 2011 and the annual Māori Teachers’ Conference held in Rotorua in July. PPTA also sent a delegation to the CTU Women’s Conference held in June 2011.
PPTA Service Awards
PPTA service awards are an initiative designed to recognises significant contributions members or former members have made to fellow members and the association through their activism and commitment.
The 2010 recipients were:
Hamish Duncan, Marilyn Ayers, John Forster, Diane Wills, Bob Devlin, Rob Torr, Jessie Johnston, Fred Haussmann, Terry McNamara, Jane Gilbert, Moeke Paaka, Jane de Feu and Di Hooper.
Regional and Branch Activities
High levels of union activism require training and support and as an education union, PPTA takes this very seriously. We begin the year with a training session for some 200 regional officers at the Issues and Organising Seminar in Wellington. One day is given over to specific training for the roles of treasurer, secretary, te reo-o-rohe, regional women’s coordinators and regional chairs. Young and new teachers (YANTs) also hold a training day. The next two days are given over to workshops and speakers on a range of professional and industrial topics. Regional Chairs meet again for one day in June and again during annual conference. Regional women’s coordinators caucus at annual conference and follow-up with a meeting towards the end of the year
The prime mechanism for membership training is through our Mahi Tika employment relations education programme. A core three-stage course Building Productive Employment Relationships is offered annually, as are targeted courses for provisionally registered teachers, staff representatives on boards of trustees, new migrant teachers, regional officers and the PPTA executive. Under the Employment Relations Act employers provide paid leave to PPTA members so they can attend Mahi Tika courses. All other course costs are met by PPTA.
Mahi Tika - PPTA's employment relations education
Well over 600 members took part in our Mahi Tika programme in the last 12 months. Evidence suggests that members who have completed the mahi tika programme are more likely to be actively involved at all levels of PPTA and are more effective at representing members’ interests in the workplace.
Other PPTA organised education programmes, seminars and courses
In addition to the Mahi Tika programme, regions run a range of other courses on a regular basis, such as branch officer training and regional and inter-regional seminars which focus on professional and political issues. In these cases PPTA pays the full costs for participants.
Principals managing school employment relationships
A course entitled Employment Relations for Principals is also available. It is targeted at principals and deputy principals and was developed in conjunction with the New Zealand School Trustees’ Association and the mediation service of the Department of Labour. A number of issues, including the withdrawal of funding by the Minister of Labour, have prevented this programme being delivered in 2010-11. This has been extremely disappointing as participants described it as very useful professional development that assisted them in managing employment relationships.
Health and Safety in the Workplace
A critical part of well being for members is ensuring their workplaces are safe and healthy. Elected health and safety representatives are members of the school’s health and safety committee and, once trained, have real powers to issue hazard notices to address identified workplace hazards which may include stress.
In response to the decision by ACC to withdraw most of the funding that enabled delivery of the health and safety training provided by the Council of Trade Unions, PPTA, in collaboration with other unions, has developed two-day Basic Rep course which was delivered three times in the first half of 2011.
The collective agreement was settled without the ministry offering anything to address the claims related to health and safety partly because the School Trustees Association suggested that they were issues that could be dealt with between boards and branches at school level. With that in mind, PPTA has issued guidelines to branches about keeping safe while doing playground duty and is encouraging the 20% of branches whose boards do not provide free flu vaccinations to ask why they are being treated differently from other secondary teachers. The other health and safety issue that was not resolved was overlarge classes in practical subjects. It is now being pursued in the working group on secondary staffing.