NZEI RELEASE 3rd November 2008 For Immediate Release
No "Ladder Of Opportunity" For Low Paid Education Workers
The National Party's Schools Policy - "Adding Rungs to the Ladder of Opportunity" - clearly shows it has no intention of addressing the issue of low pay in the education sector, according to the education sector union, NZEI Te Riu Roa.
National's pledge for a $50 million increase in the schools operations grant in 2009/10, roughly matches Labour's 2008 Budget increase of 5%.
NZEI says while Labour has promised front-line support staff a "pay jolt" next year to boost their pay, neither party has addressed the underlying issue of how the bulk funding of their positions leads to low pay and job insecurity. Negotiations for a new collective agreement for support staff begin in February next year.
"National has obviously rejected funding the "pay jolt" for support staff, and now appears to have no commitment to any longer term solution for these staff," NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter says. "Support staff are instrumental in supporting quality teaching and learning, yet are among the lowest paid workforces in the country, with rates as low as $12.69 an hour."
He says with no mention at all of support staff in its pre-election education policy, clearly National has no commitment to support staff.
"National has pledged new money for building new schools, but it also needs to take account of the people at the frontline of supporting children. Support staff deserve to have their own "ladder of opportunity" to climb, through better pay and conditions," Mr Goulter says.