NZ workers demand pay equity

Strikes are imminent across four industries in New Zealand with Inland Revenue and Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation workers, nurses and teachers demanding pay equity.

Te Wharekura o Manurewa principal Mahia Nathan says it's an issue that needs immediate attention from the government.

“The workload is harder and there's more of it but pay is still low.”

The Ministry of Education has offered teachers a pay rise ranging between 2.2 and 2.6 percent a year for three years for most primary school teachers.

Nathan says, “If there is a pay increase, there will be more students wanting to become teachers.”

Meanwhile, nurses have rejected a half a billion dollar pay offer as the prospect of the first national nursing strike in 30 years looms.

“Workers are fed up because of the conditions they work in and the workload is not reflected in the pay. I don't think teachers are any different to those working in government departments.”

Also, more than 4,000 public service workers are poised to take industrial action, with two stoppages at IR and MBIE planned for next month. 

“If there are already this many unhappy groups, who else will follow?" says Nathan, "The government need to find solutions, if they don't, there may be other ministries that come forward with complaints.”

Members of the New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) Te Riu Roa are meeting over the next two weeks to decide whether to accept or reject the teacher pay rise with work stoppages possible in August.