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School Sector Minimum Wage Needed

School Sector Minimum Wage Needed


Parents and children would benefit if the Government set a minimum wage of $15 per hour for school support workers, the Alliance says.

Kane O’Connell, Alliance schools sector spokesperson, says many school support workers earn below the $15 an hour that the Alliance considers a “liveable wage”. Rates for the grade 1 support staff currently range from $11.49 to 13.76.

Tomorrow is Support Staff Day [Subs: 15 June 2005] and the Alliance is challenging the Government to guarantee to lift the base rates of pay across the sector, Mr O’Connell says.

”The Government also needs to address the issues of lack of job security and insecurity of funding for support staff employment. These staff don’t even get paid during term breaks so their real pay over the year is even less.”

He says the last major pay increase for school support staff, 5% in 2001, simply led to cuts in hours so their take home pay did not increase. This is because, under bulk funding, salaries of support staff come out of the operations bulk fund.

Teachers are paid directly by the Government. The Alliance says support staff should also be directly employed, or at the very least, funding for schools should include tagged funding with built-in adjustments for inflation. ( www.alliance.org.nz ) Further increases could be freely negotiated by NZEI, the support staff union.

“What we have here is a group of workers, with little bargaining power because there are often just one or two in a school, whose pay has to be balanced against all the other competing demands of running a school. This is in an environment where schools have been progressively under-resourced. If they ask for more pay, they know it’s the children who will suffer,” Mr O’Connell says.

ENDS

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