Labour government delivers 22% payrise for school cleaners
School caretakers, cleaners and canteen workers are celebrating after ratifying a new collective employment agreement that will give them the largest one-off pay increase in the last 20 years.
The pay deal gives an increase of up to 22% for the lowest paid cleaners and canteen workers and will give all directly-employed members in schools a minimum pay rate of $14.62 an hour, the same rate that is paid to Service and Food Workers Union members in public hospitals. The collective agreement covers over 6000 employees nationwide.
"This is a continuation of the work the Labour-led government has been doing to lift pay rates for low paid workers. Since 1999 the minimum wage has increased by $5 an hour, and we are keen to see it move to $15 an hour next year. This pay lift brings our low paid workers in schools one step closer to that." said John Ryall, SFWU National Secretary.
The Ministry of Education is offering backpay of 4% from 2 January 2008, a further 3.1% from 14 January 2009 and an additional 9-16% from 1 July 2009 for a collective agreement that expires on 30 September 2009.
"We congratulate the government for acknowledging the important work cleaners and caretakers do. This new minimum wage of $14.62 an hour reflects the fact they provide an important public service, and deserve to be paid a decent living wage."
The deal follows a big campaign by the union, which included members sending postcards, collecting signatures on a petition and holding meetings with MPs.
The union is still negotiating for the same increase to be given to school staff who are employed by contractors.