Ratification of Education Sector Settlements
The largest ever set of pay settlements in the primary sector, negotiated by the education union NZEI Te Riu Roa, has been ratified by a strong majority of members.
The ratification of the 300 million dollar package covers collective agreements for school support staff, primary school principals and teachers, and teachers and principals in area schools. Most of the agreements were reached late last year and went out for ratification last month. They affect the vast majority of NZEI’s 46,000 members and deliver a four percent annual pay increase for up to three years, depending on the expiry date of each agreement.
For support staff, often known as the education sector’s “invisible workforce”, it is their largest pay increase in eight 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. Area school teachers secured an additional 400 units.
NZEI welcomes the ratification and the government’s recognition of the need to make significant improvements in the sector.
NZEI National President Frances Nelson says “having the agreements ratified gets the school year off to a settled start.”
“Ratification also brings confirmation of the quantity of resources going into the system to enable us to focus on developing a career path for middle and senior school leaders. For support staff there is a commitment in their agreement, to investigate their pay scales to try and address issues of low pay and lack of job security,” she says.
NZEI also believes the settlements acknowledge the need to encourage teachers and principals to stay in the profession, at a time when teacher supply is very tight.
Ms Nelson says “the reported baby boom is another ‘wake-up call’ around teacher supply over the coming years. We have three years for the early childhood sector and five years for primary to ensure we have enough experienced teachers to meet the demand of the higher birth rate and also the introduction of lower teacher:student ratios.”