Whangarei primary school teachers have unanimously rejected a Ministry of Education proposal to change their collective employment agreement and are ready to take action against the move.
The proposal, which would allow Education Secretary Lesley Longstone to change the standards without consulting teachers or the union, has been rejected by more than 120 teachers at a paid union meeting at Kamo Intermediate School.
Teachers fear the change would pave the way for performance-based pay and are preparing to take further action at the end of term four, which finishes around December 20.
Whangarei NZ Educational Institute chairwoman Jo MacDonald said yesterday teachers did not yet know what the "further action" would involve. Institute officials were working that out and teachers would "go with the flow".
Other teachers' meetings around the country have also opposed the proposal.
Teachers currently move up the pay scale by meeting professional standards set out in the collective agreement, with increases assessed and signed off by principals.
Under the ministry's proposal, Ms Longstone would be able to change the standards without consulting teachers, or the union.
NZEI national secretary Paul Goulter said there was concern among members about the Government laying a base for the introduction of performance-based pay, linked to their students' National Standards results.
Teachers had put forward their own proposal.
However, he said, they would not give any details of that proposal while in negotiations with the ministry.
Mr Goulter said the Government was pushing for a business model of education driven by cost cutting.
Policies being pushed this year were based on competition, choice, data-based accountability and standardisation.
The institute would be back at the negotiating table with the Government in the coming weeks, he said.