May 25, 2005
School Support Staff Claims Presented To Ministry
School support staff claims for increased job security, a 6% pay rise and the need for a fairer and more effective system for funding their salaries, were presented to the Ministry of Education today.
The claims were presented by the NZEI-led team that’s due to begin negotiating new school support staff collective agreements with the Ministry in August.
NZEI Te Riu Roa has around 10,000 support staff members. They work in the country’s 2600 primary and secondary schools as teacher aides, special education assistants, office managers, executive officers, librarians, science and IT technicians, therapists, sports co-ordinators and kaiarahi i te reo, fluent Maori speakers and in 80 other jobs.
“These are major negotiations for school support staff,” says NZEI Te Riu Roa National President, Colin Tarr.
“That’s because they’re fed up with being one of the lowest paid and most vulnerable workforces in the country, despite the fact that schools can’t function without them.”
Schools rely on support staff for essential administrative work and to ensure every child at every school receives a quality education, particularly those with special needs.
“Yet their pay rates start at only $11.49 an hour and they live with the on-going threat that their job, or their hours, will be cut,” says Colin Tarr.
This is because their salaries are bulk funded from each
school’s operations grant, the same pool of money that
schools use to buy all their equipment and pay their running
costs. Schools struggle to spread the grant across all these
costs and pay their support staff.
“School support staff have had enough of living with chronically low pay and job insecurity,” says Colin Tarr.
“Their determination to be fairly rewarded and valued for the work they do is reflected in the claims presented to the Ministry and in their call for a Ministerial Working Party to develop a fairer and more effective way of funding their salaries,” says Colin Tarr.
The major claims being made by school support staff are: Enhanced job security provisions A 6% across the board pay rise Enhanced and more equitable leave provisions Addressing health and safety concerns Payment for all the hours they’re required to be at their school.