School Cleaners and Caretakers call for an end to low wages
This Friday school cleaners, caretakers and canteen workers will simultaneously throughout the country present Labour politicians with petitions signed by 15,000 New Zealanders calling on the Government to urgently target funding to schools to lift these workers off the statutory minimum wage. The petitions follow the 10,000 postcards sent by members of the public to the Minister of Education also calling for targeted funding.
School cleaners, caretakers and canteen workers want the same wage rates as their public hospital counterparts, whose minimum wage goes up to $14.62 an hour from this Friday 1 August.
"Most of the 5,000 cleaners, caretakers and canteen workers are either paid the statutory minimum wage of $12.00 an hour or only a fraction more than this," said Service and Food Workers Union National Secretary John Ryall.
"School cleaners are the lowest paid state sector workers and it is time that their position was addressed," said John Ryall.
Clean Start in Schools campaign coordinator Simon des Baux added, "New Zealanders overwhelmingly support moves to get rid of low pay. This Government has already shown some good leadership in this regard with substantial movements in the minimum wage and funding to support higher pay rates for the lowest paid workers in our public hospitals. We hope that the hard-working Kiwis that keep our schools clean and maintained won't be forgotten"
The Minister of Education, Chris Carter, will be meeting with school workers in Auckland at an event that will include entertainment from up and coming talent from local schools and the Waitakere Pasifika Cultural Performers. In Wellington school cleaners and caretakers will take their case to the steps of parliament where they will present their petitions to Government Minister Annette King. Another Government Minister Ruth Dyson is to visit the Christchurch Trade Union Centre to accept further petitions on behalf of the Minister of Education.