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Christchurch teachers to strike over Government proposal

Wednesday 5 Dec 2012 5:53 p.m.

Christchurch teachers will go on strike early next year over the Government's planned overhaul of the region's schools.

Hundreds of teachers gathered at a union meeting this afternoon, just two days before the Ministry of Education's deadline for submissions. Teachers say it's their last ditch attempt to save Christchurch’s education system and they have no choice but to go on strike.

Almost every teacher in Christchurch showed up to vote on industrial action against the Government's proposal to merge, move or close 38 of the city's schools.

New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) president Ian Leckie says the action is needed.

“It gives the Government [an] opportunity to do what is being asked. What we are asking [is] that the process be stopped, that the process be started again and include the profession who has been excluded from this so markedly throughout.”

Affected schools have until Friday to respond to the ministry's sweeping changes. They feel the 10-week time frame they were given was way too short.

Parkview School teacher John Leadbetter is not happy.

“Enough is enough. We are not guinea pigs. Schools are not businesses, they are schools.”

Burnside Primary School teacher Tineke Schat says the ministry has left them no option.

“The feeling of teachers is anger, and not being listened to, and people are sick of being told we are not good enough and we want to be heard by the ministry.”

Mr Leckie agrees.

“Everybody here has been excluded from the discussion. So the voice of Christchurch has been missing from this whole debate.”

The ministry will review the submissions and announce the results early next year.

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