Public Worker Strikes in New Zealand Are Jacinda Ardern’s First Major Headache

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delivering a speech at a dinner hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in London, April 19, 2018 (pool photo by Toby Melville via AP).
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delivering a speech at a dinner hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in London, April 19, 2018 (pool photo by Toby Melville via AP).

Approximately 29,000 public school teachers in New Zealand went on a full-day strike on Aug. 15, demanding higher wages and improved working conditions. An estimated 400,000 schoolchildren were affected by the strike, which follows a similarly disruptive strike by nurses last month. These large-scale labor actions are a serious challenge for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s center-left coalition government, which was elected last year with union support. In an email interview, Grant Duncan, associate professor of politics at Massey University in New Zealand, discusses the political significance of the strikes. WPR: What are the main issues driving the recent teachers’ and […]

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