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Pay Settlements To Kick Off School Year

Media Release February 3rd, 2008

Milestone Set Of Pay Settlements To Kick Off School Year

As teachers and students return to school this week, what is believed to be the largest ever set of pay settlements for the primary sector is going out for ratification.

The 300 million dollar package negotiated by the education union NZEI Te Riu Roa, shows historic recognition of the critical difference people working in education make to the lives of children and communities.

Details of the package, which includes collective agreements for primary school principals, teachers, area school teachers and support staff, are being unveiled as the school year begins. The agreements were reached late last year after several months of negotiation.

The packages include a 4 percent pay increase annually for all NZEI members covered by the agreements, most of which run for three years.

Primary teachers also won 10,000 management units – additional pay given to primary schools to financially recognise teachers who are taking on extra leadership responsibilities.

The Ministry of Education’s initial offer of 2,000 extra units was rejected by 80 percent of teachers in October. Meanwhile, area school teachers secured an additional 400 units.

NZEI National President Frances Nelson says the package will help attract and keep staff in primary and area schools, particularly those teachers taking on extra leadership roles. She says the increased resourcing to support mentoring, professional development and specialist roles will encourage teachers to stay in the profession and help address serious issues of teacher supply.

“Research shows that quality teachers significantly improve children’s learning; without adequate financial support and reward, teachers are more likely to leave the profession than continue to develop and learn. This package is good news for children and their learning, and for everyone working in education,” she says.

NZEI also gained a two year salary protection for principals whose salaries are affected negatively by change in the decile or roll numbers of their school. Decile changes at the end of last year impacted on many schools. Principals also gained more paid sabbaticals – an increase from the current 40 to 100 by 2010; a leadership payment, an experience payment for principals with three years continuous service, and 10 days paid professional release time for first time principals in small primary schools.

Support staff will receive their largest pay increase in eight years, after the settlement of their claim which sought to address long-standing issues of low pay and lack of job security. They will receive a 4% pay increase this year and NZEI members will get another 2% next year. The agreement expires in 2009 and also puts in place a work programme to look at pay scales for support staff which are currently a source of frustration for both staff and schools.

NZEI says it is pleased that, through these settlements, the government has acknowledged the need for better resourcing of the primary sector. That acknowledgement will help address critical issues such as teacher retention and supply, and ultimately benefit young students and their learning.

Details of the agreements will be going to schools over the next few weeks and NZEI will be recommending full ratification by members.


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