1st October 2008
Pay Jolt Not A Political Football
The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says thousands of teacher aides and other support staff in schools will be deeply disappointed that the National Party has failed to commit to a promised "pay jolt" for school support staff.
NZEI members at their annual conference on Monday welcomed a promise from the Prime Minister of additional funding to increase pay rates for low paid school support staff. Support staff go into pay negotiations early next year and that fresh funding will underpin that process.
NZEI called on other political parties to honour that commitment to improve support staff pay. However NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter says comments yesterday by National's deputy leader Bill English and education spokesperson Anne Tolley suggested it was unwilling to commit to the pay deal, and instead wanted to cast doubt on the government's promise.
Bill English suggested that future governments could not afford the additional support staff funding. The pay increase is estimated to cost an initial $18 million out of an education budget of more than $10 billion.
Anne Tolley told an NZEI political debate yesterday that the "pay jolt" was irresponsible and gave no assurance that National would commit to better pay and conditions for support staff.
"Support staff are among the lowest paid workers in the country and they have finally been given a ray of hope. What they deserve now is some certainty - not to have their pay and conditions used as a political football," says Mr Goulter.