Reports that teachers union NZEI has declined a pay offer from the Government and decided to strike because it already has meeting rooms booked shows it doesn’t have the interests of students or teachers at heart, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“It is breathtaking arrogance for NZEI to think that its meeting room bookings are more important than hundreds of thousands of kids.

“Teachers unions have already shown just how self-serving they can be by rejecting innovative charter schools because they don’t use union contracts.

“The vast majority of teachers want to be in the classroom helping our kids learn. Parents and families across the country will now be scrambling to make plans for their children while NZEI holds the country to ransom.

“This is a clear example of why the union model is out-of-date for education, and teachers and students alike would be better off without them.

“Since the 1980s, the top teacher salary has gone from 80 per cent above the average to 40 per cent above the average. The union model has failed even at raising wages.

“A generation of great teachers have been underpaid for a decade because unions neglected to include their qualifications in the collective agreements. In any other workplace, those teachers would have been paid what they’re worth.

“NZEI must call off its strikes and immediately return to the bargaining table for the sake of students and teachers alike.”