For immediate release October 14, 2003
From: NZEI Te Riu Roa
Special Education Staff Suspend Industrial Action
More than 600 special education field staff have suspended their industrial action while their negotiating team considers a new pay offer from the Ministry of Education.
The field staff began their action two weeks ago, on September 29, after eight months of negotiations had failed to deliver an acceptable pay offer.
They are seeking a single salary scale that takes account of their qualifications and experience and an across the board pay rise of 5%.The Ministry offered substantially less than this.
“The industrial action has produced a new offer from the Ministry of Education which is being considered by the negotiating team. In the meantime the industrial action has been suspended,” says NZEI Te Riu Roa National President, Bruce Adin.
The action involved a number of work bans: a ban on taking on new students, a ban on handling funding data for children with special needs, a ban on filing data returns, a ban on using their own vehicles to do special education work, a ban on travelling to jobs outside of work time, a ban on doing work outside of working hours, a ban on weekend work, and a ban on work with agencies outside the Ministry of Education.
The field staff include psychologists, special education advisors, speech language therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, early intervention teachers, advisors on deaf students and kaitakawaenga who work with Maori students and their whanau.
They work with students at early childhood, primary and secondary level with a range of physical, behavioural and other special educational needs. They also provide support for their families and staff in the schools and early childhood education centres the children attend.
They are members of NZEI Te Riu Roa, which also represents early childhood teachers, primary teachers and principals, support staff in primary and secondary schools and advisers in the tertiary sector.