The specialists in the field of learning support that have ended today in Rotorua are small in number but great in spirit.
About 40 leather support specialists from Rotorua, Taupō, Whakatāne and Tauranga have picked up on Ranolf St today as part of national strikes coordinated by the education union New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) Te Riu Roa.
Supporting specialists include psychologists, speech therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists who are directly employed by the Ministry of Education.
Michael Foxx, who worked in Tauranga as a psychologist and was also part of the trade union negotiating team, said the biggest problem was workload.
He said he had more than 40 cases and that the ideal number was between 15 and 30.
"We have been in negotiations with the ministry [of education] and they have acknowledged that, but they also have to acknowledge that we need the specialists. We are all stretched as far as possible.
"We have children who have to be put on the back burner because something is coming up, children who have to wait for services.
"We maintain the high-end, the one percent of the children who need services."
NZE chairman Linda Stuart was also on strike day on strike day.
"What we have is a situation where we absolutely can not get people into these jobs," she said.
"These people are absolutely critical, they work with children at schools, they advise our teachers, our supervisors, they support families who have children with learning needs or challenging behavior."
Stuart said that the NZEI members had not made the decision to light up.
"What they're saying is that their offer was not enough to keep people in the business, people with these skills can work in the private sector, so why would they choose to work in the ministry when they're not on the right track? value estimated? "
Stuart said the Ministry of Education had allocated more money to support services for learning, but the union wanted more people.
"We need the people and in order to get them, we have to be able to attract them."
Tauranga physio Sara Tipper said her case-load averaged around 60 children with a variable number on a waiting list.
"It is a constant relationship with many schools and whanau is very involved in the work, relationships are important, so if you continue to add more children, it is a challenge to keep up."
Tipper said she was the only person in her office but that she was about to receive help in the form of a part-time employee.
"The most important thing is not the reward, but the support, especially in Tauranga, where the population has grown enormously, but we have no more feet on the ground."
The deputy secretary of the Ministry of Education of the sector enablement and support of Katrina Casey said that the ministry had committed to arranging the agreement.
"We appreciate the work done by field staff and know that some field workers currently have high workloads and we are actively working on filling vacancies in areas with high demand.
"We talked about initiatives to tackle problems with the workload with the trade unions, including mutually agreed guidelines for field staff and managers."
She said the ministry had funding for and recruited 52 stricter behavioral specialists, 28 specialists to reduce waiting lists for waiting services, 15 specialists for the Ongoing Resource Scheme and six for the intensive wrapping service.