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Labour plays favourites with teachers

Anne Tolley MP
National Party Education Spokeswoman

1 April 2008

Labour plays favourites with teachers

Primary school teachers who choose not to be a member of the union have been penalised with the loss of two months’ back-pay, says National’s Education spokeswoman, Anne Tolley.

“Teachers are outraged that NZEI members who signed a collective agreement with the Ministry of Education were granted four months’ back-pay, but non-union members who signed individual contracts were only given two months back-pay.

“Teachers are telling me they are feeling very pressured to join what is supposedly a voluntary union because of the disparity in pay – and why wouldn’t they, when Labour generously rewards union members with double the back-pay.

“To add insult to injury, some non-union members were presented with their individual contracts only at lunchtime yesterday and were told that if they didn’t return the contracts by 5pm they would not get any back-pay – not even get the two months’ offered.

“The Minister needs to explain why teachers had only a matter of hours to sign their individual agreements that clearly stated ‘The employee acknowledges they have had reasonable opportunity to seek advice.’

“This is not good-faith bargaining. Bullying tactics have no place in workplace negotiations, nor does favouritism of any kind.

“Teachers should be valued and treated equally whether they are on individual or collective contracts.

“Not to do so is unacceptable.”

ENDS


Attached: Letter to Minister Chris Carter

28.03.08

Dear Mr Carter,

I am a scale A teacher at Arahoe school, New Lynn. I have concerns regarding the implementation of the latest teacher’s settlement which I would like to share with you and hopefully get some clarification from you.

Specifically, the collective agreement reached has allowed for a 4% salary increase. Members of NZEI have had this money backdated to the beginning of November. However non NZEI members have had this increase backdated to the 28 January. In other words a situation which in the past has had members and non members of NZEI on an equal salary footing has been changed.

So my first question is why do NZEI members get paid more than non members and how and why did this situation arise?

Associated with this is the intriguing situation where the government appears on one hand to have a law which allows and promotes voluntary unionism but clearly gives it’s teachers more money to be a member of NZEI. This seems to me to be a contradiction to the implicit spirit of the law.

In summary, I would appreciate some indication from you as to why I am paid less than my colleagues and why I am being pressured into joining an organization which is, by law, voluntary.


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