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Support staff to hold paid union meetings over a Living Wage

21 March 2014

For immediate release

School support staff to hold paid union meetings over a Living Wage for Learning

School support staff will be attending paid union meetings in schools all around New Zealand over the next fortnight to discuss the Education Ministry’s latest offer around career pathways and pay, and to determine their action.

School support staff such as teacher aides and administrative staff, are asking for movement towards the Living Wage, as well as achieving progress on career pathways. Around 45% of the country’s approximately 24,000 school support staff are on hourly rates below the current Living Wage of $18.80.

The impact of low pay on support staff and on children’s learning will also be the focus of Living Wage for Learning community events in Wellington and Auckland next week. An event will be held at Parliament at 1pm on Saturday 29 March and a similar event will be held at 11am on the same day in Queen St, Auckland.

Child poverty and social inequality are the biggest hurdles to children succeeding educationally. The community event calls for action to ensure family incomes allow children to thrive and participate at school.

Support staff, such as teacher aides, who directly support our most needy children, face low wages and job insecurity and also need a living wage.

Many school support staff currently earn little more than minimum wage and have no certainty of ongoing employment as they are not centrally funded and must be paid out of schools’ already-stretched operating budgets.

NZEI National President Judith Nowotarski said support staff were crucial to student success and the effective running of schools and they deserved recognition and a fair deal.

PUMs are being held around the country from March 24 to April 4 at 10am. For a full list of meetings, please contact Melissa Schwalger or Debra Harrington.

ENDS

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