WELLINGTON-About 20,000 primary school teachers said 'yes' this week to an average 7% wage increase negotiated by NZEI.
This increase arises out of the entrenchment clause agreed in the last contract round that requires the government to maintain pay parity.
In the newly ratified contract, the minimum starting rate for a qualified teacher will go from $24,000 to $25,000 and rise to $26,000 in April 2000. The salary of a teacher at the top of the scale will go from $47,100 to $48,600, then to $50,300 in April 2000.
The settlement also involves a 17% increase in the value of units, the extra salary for accepting more responsibilities. This means the salary unit for assistant and deputy principals and others will go from $2,350 to $2,500 and rise to $2,750 in April 2000.
The increases will be paid on 22 September and will be backdated to 27 January 1999.
"After a four-year struggle, this settlement by NZEI, widely supported by parents and trustees, solidly establishes pay parity in the primary sector," said National President Darrell Ward.
"It will be welcomed by boards of trustees interested in attracting high quality job applicants and will contribute significantly to the ability of boards to retain quality teachers," he added.
The new contract term runs to 30 April 2001.