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Rodney Hide Shows Ignorance About Unions

Rodney Hide Shows Ignorance About Unions

WELLINGTON – NZEI Te Riu Roa says Rodney Hide has today shown his ignorance of how the union works as a professional and industrial organisation to provide better working conditions for its members and a better learning environment for the country’s children.

Mr Hide has this afternoon labelled the retirement savings scheme negotiated by NZEI Te Riu Roa, for its members who are teachers and principals in primary and intermediate schools, a government “funded” bribe to join the union.

“Mr Hide’s claim is laughable and shows his complete ignorance of how unions and collective bargaining work,” says Amanda Coulston, the National President of NZEI Te Riu Roa.

“It is also clear he can’t stand seeing unions operating effectively and negotiating benefits for their members. The success of NZEI lies with the members who are committed to the welfare of their colleagues and to working together.”

“This collegiality and collectivism led to NZEI initiating a claim for a retirement savings scheme because of a need to help our members save for their retirement. Eighty per cent of the union’s primary sector members are women and historically women have not been involved in retirement savings schemes.”

“When the collective agreements that cover primary teachers and principals were settled last year, it was agreed to form a joint working party involving the union, the School Trustees Association, Treasury, the State Services Commission and special advisors to devise a scheme that met the needs of teachers and principals.”

The details were worked out and the scheme was launched in September at NZEI Te Riu Roa’s Annual Meeting in Wellington.

“The scheme includes a contribution from the government as the employer. That’s because the government is ken to help workers in the state sector save for their retirement,” says Amanda Coukston.

This is reflective of a whole range of employers, even in the private sector, who value their contributions by contributing to their retirement.”

“The members paid for the negotiations which delivered the retirement savings scheme. It would not be fair for those who haven’t contributed to reap the benefit of this collective achievenment.”

“NZEI is not able to negotiate for non-members. If non-members wish to approach their employer for access to a similar scheme, then according to the principles Mr Hide espouses, they should exercise the same ‘freedom of choice’ they exercised when they decided not to join the union.”

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