December 21, 2005
From NZEI Te Riu Roa
For Immediate Use
SETTLEMENT GIVES EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION (ECE) LEADERS PAY PARITY WITH PRIMARY PRINCIPALS
Within a single day of negotiations, early childhood educators and employers agreed to benchmark salaries for senior positions in the sector to those of primary principals and assistant principals.
The new salaries will apply to more than 400 teachers in leadership positions who are covered under the Consenting Parties' Collective Agreement in early childhood education (ECE) centres around the country.
"The quick settlement was reached because the Consenting Parties' teachers and employers are committed to the same goals * quality education and fairness for teachers, children and families, not purely profit," said NZEI National President Colin Tarr, head of the union representing ECE teachers.
"Both the teachers and the employers hope this will send a clear signal to the rest of the sector and to the government that pay parity must be supported and implemented across the ECE sector," said Colin Tarr.
"Consenting Parties employers recognise that an education leader should be paid at the same level for the same amount of work, regardless of the age of the children they are teaching. We are amazed that the government and kindergarten associations are stubbornly refusing to fully recognise this in kindergartens."
Kindergarten teachers have recently taken strike action to oppose radical changes that would, among other things, pay ECE leaders less than their equivalents in primary, despite the government professing a commitment to pay parity for the sector.
In order to measure positions of responsibility in the early childhood education sector for pay parity purposes, a job-sizing exercise was commissioned by parties to the agreement. Interviews with supervisors, assistant supervisors, principals and deputy principals were carried out in ECE centres and primary schools of various sizes by an independent consultancy firm.
The results of this exercise showed that, while there is some difference in the size of the respective jobs in ECE and primary, this difference is not significant in job evaluation terms, and the jobs can be compared favourably. In order to take into account the slight imbalance, base rates alone are being used in the agreement, not taking into account extra allowances primary principals receive.
The exercise also showed that there is currently a significant difference in pay rates between the two sectors that is considerably out of proportion to the difference in job size.