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Supermarket heroes: PPTA members support local Pak N Save workers

Assisted in part by a local PPTA branch, workers at Porirua Pak N Save won a four-month pay dispute.

Pak n Save Porirua picketThe Pak N Save workers, members of First Union, had been negotiating improved wages and conditions to put them on a par with the local Countdown and a neighbouring Pak N Save in Kilbirnie, but the employer’s best offer was still well short.

With nothing to lose, the workers turned to the community for support, calling on locals to join pickets, send messages to the store manager and even to take their grocery dollars down the road.

Local school communities were well aware of the dispute, with a number of parents and secondary students employed by Pak N Save, so they needed little invitation to act.

Mana College PPTA branch chair Pauline Thorby said the school was very aware of the effect low wages had on the community and the level of achievement and opportunity for its students.

“Our branch had earlier approached our own principal and board of trustees to discuss becoming a ‘living wage’ employer at the college so we understood the issues,” she said.

“We felt supporting the Pak n Save workers was actually a tangible way of supporting our students and their whanau, many of whom work there.”


PPTA News February 2015

PPTA News Feb 2015 coverThe February 2015 issue of PPTA News: the newsletter of the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association / Te Wehengarua (PPTA).


PPTA News v.36 (1) February 2015

Table of contents:

Jekyll & Hyde - President's viewpoint p.3;
On debut (Two new faces PPTA National Office) p.4;
From the heart (PB4L at Avondale College) p.5;
Respect and identity (Transgender in schools) p.6;
Supermarket heroes (First Union Pak N Save workers & Mana College) p.7;
Paid parental leave has been extended p.8;
Caregiver's equal pay win a boost for all women p.8;
Recognition for services to Pasifika education p.9;
Hub with ripples (Pond) p.10;
Pond - one teacher's experience (Wellington High, Tony Cairns) p.10;
Join the discussion (PPTA online) p.12;
Charges likely (Teachers to pay for their own police vetting?) p.13;
All there in black and white (Melanie Webber - STCA need to know posters) p.14; 
Fixed term appointments - ground hog day? (Field Officer advice) p.15.


icon PPTA News February 2015 (volume 36 no. 1) 








Maternity grant win

A three-year dispute between PPTA and the Ministry of Education regarding the ministry’s refusal to pay a second maternity grant to a member has been resolved in PPTA’s favour.

The Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement (STCA) parental provisions (clause 6.3) entitle female teachers to take up to 24 months’ maternity leave without pay with a maternity grant equal to six weeks’ salary.

Maternity leave grant entitlement calculated as 'nil' by Ministry of Education

Wellington secondary teacher Deborah Marshall was on maternity leave following the birth of her son in 2008 when she became pregnant with twins. She applied for a second maternity grant but was declined by the ministry on the grounds that the grant calculation would be based on how much she’d earn in the last six weeks prior to her second allocation of leave. The ministry concluded that, given she would already be on maternity leave in that period, her grant entitlement would be nil. It said this reflected the fact that the parental provisions didn’t entitle female teachers to take two consecutive allocations of maternity leave following the birth of subsequent children.

Negotiating a successful resolution with the help of PPTA

Sensing that the ministry wasn’t interpreting the parental provisions correctly, Deborah got PPTA to assist her with negotiating a resolution. Months of discussions and mediation followed to no avail. The case eventually went before the New Zealand Employment Relations Authority (ERA) who ruled that there was nothing in the STCA to suggest a second allocation of maternity leave could not immediately follow a first with the birth of a subsequent child.


Phoney philanthropy

To what extent is education in New Zealand for sale? - Massey University professor John O’Neill has been investigating “the relentless push of the privateers” into education decision making.

Phoney philanthropy

During a presentation of his research to PPTA’s annual conference O’Neill spoke of seeing a shift to education “policy networks” that blur the divide between public and private.

Teach First NZ - How charitable is ‘charity’?

One area where this was becoming apparent was teacher training, O’Neill said.

As part of his research he investigated Teach First NZ - an organisation presenting itself as a philanthropically funded alternative to state funded initial teacher education.

“Teach First presents itself as an opportunity for high performing graduates to have a CV building opportunity - it’s not teaching for life, it’s teaching to build your CV for whatever career you plan to go on to,” he said.

O’Neill dug deeper to see how charitable the organisation really was and found some interesting connections.

Teach First NZ is notionally philanthropically funded but also has prominent partners from the public sector - University of Auckland and the Ministry of Education - as well as what O’Neill calls the “big players” private companies such as ASB, Chapman Tripp and Deloitte. There are also a number of high profile international philanthropic private foundations and, a local sounding entity, the Aotearoa Foundation.

O’Neill’s main concern around Teach First NZ was its lack of transparency. “If you look at the partners you have corporate actors trying to influence state education in the form of initial teacher education.”

He was also surprised to discover what he thought would be a New Zealand charity - the Aotearoa Foundation - was actually registered in New York. Its philanthropic source is Julian Robertson (a hedge fund billionaire infamous for tax avoidance) and his Robertson Foundation, a Cayman Island entity.

“The thing I find an anathema is venture philanthropists, who have made billions out of their activities in the financial sector, giving back to us the money they are avoiding paying in personal and corporate taxation. That’s the main reason the state education system is underfunded in the first place.

“These are the networks which we are intended to know nothing about but which are becoming extraordinarily powerful when it comes to deciding the direction of state education.”

John O'Neill quote


PPTA News Nov-Dec 2014

PPTA News cover Nov/Dec 2014The Nov-Dec 2014 issue of PPTA News: the newsletter of the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association / Te Wehengarua (PPTA).


PPTA News v.35 (10) Nov/Dec 2014

Table of contents:

Valuing teachers as one - President's viewpoint p.3;
Two lands connect 2014 (AEU) Federal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Conference) p.4;
Well batted, Norm (Norm Austin reflects on 43 years with the union) p.5;
Coaching Hope (interview with John Kirwan) p.6;
Maternity grant win p.8;
Phoney philanthropy (John O'Neill) p.9;
Variation put to the vote (IES roles) p.10;
Refining specialisation (Specialist Classroom Teacher) p.12;
Standing up for sovereignity (TPPA) p.13;
Standing up to sexual violence p.14;
Government put on notice (EDUCANZ) p.15;
A new round of extravagant funding (charter schools) p.17;
Reimbursements for EOTC ... (Field Officer advice) p.18;
Story with good intentions fails to engage (Book review - Roskill) p.19.

icon PPTA News Nov-Dec 2014 (volume 35 no. 10)




Novopay's walking wounded

PPTA branches throughout the country recognised the casualties of Novopay last month with a series of morning teas to mark two years since the shambolic payroll system was introduced.

Members at Kamo High School looked the part bandaged up as Novopay casualties and lining up at the “Novopay A and E” to share bloodied looking jam muffins.

The morning teas were held between 1-12 September to recognise the impact the error-ridden system has had on teachers and the long-suffering executive (salary) officers who have to deal with it on a daily basis.

Novopay walking wounded 2014

Article published in:

 icon PPTA News October 2014 (volume 35 no.9)


PPTA News October 2014

PPTA News cover October 2014The October 2014 issue of PPTA News: the newsletter of the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association / Te Wehengarua (PPTA).

PPTA News v.35 (9) October 2014

Table of contents:

Step inside the gates - President's viewpoint p.3;
Novopay's walking wounded p.4;
Former president farewelled p.5;
New doco details daily toil of teachers p.5;
A stormy year (Annual Conference) p.6;
Going the distance (Phillipstown Technology Centre) p.8;
Financial irresponsibility (Charter schools) p.10;
Government set to slash your rights at work p.11;
ASPIRE retirement scheme transfer p.11;
Tackling teen depression and anxiety (Stand by me - book review) p.12;
Letters - Time for an editorial policy on gender equity? p.12;
So there is a falling roll ... (Field Officer advice) p.14;
Some PRTs required to do teacher ed refresh courses (Field Officer advice) p.14;
Make sure you're in the know before you vote (IES) p.16.


icon PPTA News October 2014 (volume 35 no.9)

#edchatnz followers meet face-to-face

Te Aroha College teacher and Twitter convert Samantha Mortimer (@sammortimer70) attended the inaugural #edchatnz conference at Hobsonville Point Secondary School.

I discovered #edchatnz earlier this year when I finally decided to give Twitter a proper go. I’d had an account for a couple of years but never found my calling - I was already using Facebook personally and loved to try new technology but couldn’t see the point of Twitter. However, a couple of young teachers at school had been singing its praises for a while and they seemed to have lots of innovative exciting ideas around pedagogy, so I thought I would try again.

My attempts to connect with the Twitter world would have failed again but I found the #edchatnz community - which meets on Twitter every second Thursday from 8.30 to 9.30pm. It’s a time to be challenged about a number of issues in education with the central question always - how can we do the best for our students? This is led by the remarkable @MissDtheTeacher otherwise known as Danielle Myburgh who is the host and founder. Although Danielle tweeted on international education sites she found there was no way to connect to New Zealand teachers on Twitter so she decided to start her own hashtag and #edchatnz was born in 2012.


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