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School Support Staff Voting on Collective Agreemt

Media Release October 10, 2005
From NZEI Te Riu Roa For Immediate Use
Ms05/48

SCHOOL SUPPORT STAFF VOTING ON NEW COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT

School support staff are voting whether to accept a collective employment agreement that enhances their job security and leave provisions, addresses health and safety concerns, establishes a work programme to investigate major issues like grading, qualifications and their pay structure and delivers a 2.8% increase in pay.

The settlement covers more than 10,000 support staff who belong to NZEI Te Riu Roa. They work in primary and secondary schools as school managers, teacher aides, special education assistants, librarians, science and IT technicians, kaiarahi i te reo, (fluent Maori speakers) and in 80 other jobs.

The settlement was negotiated by an NZEI led team of school support staff and follows seven days of talks that began at the end of August.

The key elements of the settlement are:

- Two pay rises: 2% from January 4 next year and 1% from April 12. This would mean a 2.8% increase in pay during a 12 month collective agreement expiring on 1 September next year.

- Better leave provisions covering public holidays, bereavement leave and how previous school service is recognised.

- A joint work programme involving NZEI, the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand School Trustees’ Association carried out before the collective agreement expires on September next year. This work would investigate and consider joint solutions on four major issues:
1. Annualisation of pay to provide school support staff with on going income during the 12 weeks of term break time.
2. Qualifications.
3. The school support staff grading system.
4. The current pay scale structures for school support staff.

“This settlement, and the review of school operations funding that will look at the current bulk funding of school support staff, mark a significant step forward in the campaign to improve support staff working conditions,” says NZEI Te Riu Roa National President, Colin Tarr.

School support staff are among the lowest paid and most vulnerable workforces in the country and as a consequence NZEI tabled an ambitious set of claims at the start of their negotiations.

“The settlement continues the progress made on a number of school support staff issues such as leave provisions and health and safety,” says Colin Tarr. “It also establishes a work programme to continue that progress by addressing major issues such as not being paid during term breaks and for all the hours they work, their grading, qualifications and pay structure.”

School support staff have been sent the details of the settlement and are voting whether to accept it during the next two weeks period.

ENDS

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