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Thursday, 17 March 2011

It's Over

Two post in one today.
The first part is all about the our industrial action.
The second is on the Dangers of Flower Arranging

Seemingly the industrial dispute that we are having with the MOE (the ministry, not the teacher) is over.
We heard the news late yesterday, just before I came home from Nuova Lazio High.
The details of the settlement have not been released to the press, and the PPTA (our union) haven't told us what they've accepted.


We have been told that the settlement will only effect Secondary teachers, and that it will not effect Primary School Teachers.  This is a bit unusual, as some years ago the clever Primary School Teachers (PST) managed to set up a contractual link between their pay rates and ours, effectively making them the same.  Although many Secondary School Teachers (SST) disagreed with this arrangement, arguing that the SST have to attend University for at least one more year, and gain 1 additional qualification, so therefore need more financial compensation, there was no real groundswell of opinion from the SST to dissolve the financial link, as it gave the two unions working together some real clout.

Until last month.

Just as we were starting to increase our industrial action, we heard that the PST had settled directly with the government for 2.75% plus a $300 one-off payment.  This was a bit less than we wanted, and there was no mention of class sizes, one of our main concern.
The relationship between the pay of PST and SST is not reciprocal.  Our pay is not linked contractually with theirs, so the bastards had really undercut our negotiations, reducing the combined pressure on the government.  The crafty PST probably thought that they had got a reasonable deal, and anyway, if the SST managed to get a better deal (while putting our own jobs at risk, and while it was costing us lost pay due to strikes etc) then they'd get any extra money we managed to lever out of the government because of the pay linkage between us.
I believe that our union, the PPTA were a bit miffed about this perceived betrayal, and there are a few areas of our pay and conditions, unique to SST that they could negotiate about, without having a knock-on effect on the PST pay.
So, if it's true that we got the settlement we wanted (about 4%), the PST will not be happy.


The Dangers of Flower Arranging

My beloved, being mostly retired has rather a lot of spare time on her hands.  She occupies herself with two or three activities.
She goes to, and helps instruct a couple of Tai Chi classes in Upper Hutt, one of them in our local Orangomarie Marae (A Maori meeting house for any non-kiwis reading this).

She recently joined a new club.  The Ikebana International.  A flower arranging society, based on Japanese principles of a subtle simplicity.  My beloved is quite good at this art, and she did a bit in Scotland before we emigrated to NZ, so when she joined the local Ikebana chapter, she immediately arranged to acquire all the needed equipment, as we had left most of it in a bin in Fife. 
One particular piece gave her some trouble in finding, so as most women do when requiring a problem solved, she asked her man to "Find and Fix"
The thing she was looking for was a flower stem holder, like a small pincushion, and pictured below.

Ikebana Flower "Frog" Pincushion
I managed to get one and she's been using it quite happily for the last few months.

I wash and normally dry our dinner dishes.  It's part of our normal routine.  My beloved cooks tasty meals, and I tidy up.  One of the things involved is washing out the kitchen sink at the end, and if by some chance the windows above the sink are dirty or grease spattered, I give them a wipe.
I noticed one of the windows was particularly grease-splattered, so I added extra cleaner to the cloth and gave it a wipe.  It was a bit stubborn, so I pressed harder as I pushed down.  My hand slipped and bashed down onto the windowsill.

The windowsill where my beloved had left the pictured pincushion to dry after use.

It stuck right into my wrist, and when by reflex I jerked my hand away, it remained stuck in my wrist.

I may have uttered a few expletives, and staggered through to the room where by beloved and son were sitting, watching TV, gripping my wrist in a tourniquet-like grip.

I might even have screamed something about "Your death trap didn't work this time, you demented murderous Jezebel", but that might have been my imagination.

My beloved and my offspring seemed to think that seeing their husband and father standing with a brass and steel pincushion embedded in his wrist as quite humorous, because they giggled.
Then they helped me remove the instrument of torture from my person.

Blood gushed onto the carpet.

Well actually it dripped onto the carpet.

Alright, it slowly oozed from the circular pattern of holes on my wrist, but it felt a lot worse.

My beloved, once she had finished giggling, painted on some Iodine based antiseptic and as I moaned with the pain she even kissed it better.

Women have no sympathy for an injured bloke.  We just learn to suffer in peace.  I did however work out a schedule of low plaintive moans and groans over the next few hours to extract the maximum sympathy form my beloved, to add to the ledger of moral superiority for later use.
I might as well have been moaning at a brick wall.
I did not get any sympathy.

Blokes suffer in silence
Life isn't always fair.


  1. TSB (of RBB), be strong and deal with the little pricks, just like we do at school.

  2. Ooohhh. Very witty Richard [of RBB], I'm impressed. Especially at 6:24 AM

  3. "Your death trap didn't work this time, you demented murderous Jezebel"

    When the Old Girl cooks something new and unusual I accuse her of putting powdered glass in my food as part of her plot to get rid of me.

  4. I remember reading about the primary settlement when I just happened to be perusing a NZ news website a little while back. I just had this feeling of betrayal, becuase the secondary unions had less bargaining power over the years because of pay-parity and had possibly missed out. And now they just decided to go their own way when it suited them.

    I look forward to hearing what the final settlement was.

  5. tragic and almost life threatening yes......but quite funny too!!

  6. TC: Does she? Interesting texture. I suggest you add a smidgen of Rat Poison as an interesting condiment next time.

    Nicola: I've heard the final settlement isn't great, about the same as the Primary Teachers.

    Young at Heart: Thanks for dropping by, and I'm glad you find it amusing.
    My wife thought it was bloody hilarious.
    As did my female colleagues at school.
    Males commiserated.
    I wonder if sympathy is linked to the Y-chromosome?


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