Parent organises Novopay 'strike'

Parklands community supports school

JAMES GREENLAND
Last updated 13:00 27/02/2013
school
ALASTAIR PAULIN/FAIRFAX NZ
Fed up: Hayley Wilson, who is organising a protest at Parklands School on Friday, with her children, from left, Tori, 6, Indee, 2, Alana, 10, Myah, 5, and Joel, 9.

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Parklands School pupils will "strike" on Friday, refusing to learn anything more from their teachers, who have not been paid.

The "learning strike" is being organised by Hayley Wilson, who has five children at the Motueka primary school.

She said she wanted to raise awareness about Novopay problems, which were seriously affecting the lives of teachers and support staff.

"I asked the teachers why they weren't going on strike and they said they can't, pretty much," Mrs Wilson said.

"They are not getting paid properly as it is, and if they strike, it's just going to cause more confusion and more problems."

She said 60 per cent of Parklands staff had suffered financially because of Novopay, and all had been affected in some way.

"I decided as a parent we need to be supporting our teachers and our school staff. And I thought this was a good way to get the publicity that we needed to try and put things right.

"[Our family lives] from fortnight to fortnight on our pay. If we had some mix-up with our pay, we wouldn't be able to survive."

Between usual school hours, 9am to 3pm, on Friday, Parklands will be run by parents in place of teachers. Mrs Wilson said there would be fun and games, with some learning in the mix.

She said she explained the importance of the "strike" to the children earlier this week.

"The little 6-year-olds were offering money out of their own bank accounts to pay their teachers.

"When we said that their teacher wouldn't be teaching them on Friday, we heard a big ‘Aww' . . . it was unprompted and really from the heart."

Mrs Wilson has been making picket signs and drumming up media interest for the day of action.

She has also been liasing with local Labour MP Damien O'Connor.

The "learning strike" was about gathering community support, rather than fundraising, Mrs Wilson said.

There would be petitions for people to sign outside the school grounds next to the museum, where pupils would be picketing all day.

Principal Martin Major said the "strike" was a community-inspired initiative, not the school's.

Mrs Wilson said everything would be "legit".

"The children are still in school, and teachers will still be on the grounds. The kids are just refusing to learn from those teachers until they get paid." Principals, p2

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