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Budget fails teachers

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The unprecedented combined strike by 50,000 primary and secondary school teachers is shaping up to be the biggest and most important industrial action in New Zealand's history.

The number of people involved so far is more than double the 22,000 watersiders, freezing workers, miners and hydro-electricity workers involved in the infamous 1951 lockout. That damaging historical dispute dragged on for 151 days during which the Government of the day imposed draconian restrictions on striking workers, newspapers who wanted to report both sides of the dispute and even prevented people from donating food to the hungry families of the men out of work.

It is highly unlikely that this dispute will get that ugly but the Ministry of Education did send a letter to teachers warning of suspensions for those participating in strike action on Wednesday. Although the letter is considered standard practice with strikes it does indicate an almost dysfunctional relationship between class room teachers and the ministry.

In spite of advice and pleas from the most experienced teachers to the ministry and education ministers some years ago, Tomorrows Schools and the........

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