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Commitments from Labour and Greens a huge boost

Commitments from Labour and Greens a huge boost for school support staff

NZEI Te Riu Roa has welcomed Labour leader David Cunliffe’s commitment that a Labour-led government would work towards centrally funding the salaries of school support staff and paying the Living Wage of $18.80 per hour.

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei has also committed her party to that course of action.

Currently, schools must pay support staff out of their already-stretched general funding, which means hours are often inconsistent and 45 per cent of support staff are paid less than the Living Wage.

The announcements were made today at rallies in Auckland and Wellington calling for a Living Wage for all workers and a halt to the growing inequity in our schools and society.

In Auckland, about 800 people gathered at Queen Elizabeth Square and marched to Aotea Square where speakers called on the Government to stop ignoring poverty and the effect it is having on the education and future prospects of thousands of children.

In Wellington, a community Living Wage for Learning event was held on the grounds of Parliament, with about 300 people enjoying performances from children’s choirs and a brass band.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Judith Nowotarski said the commitments from Labour and the Greens were fantastic news for about 20,000 support staff working in early childhood centres, primary schools and high schools around the country.

“It is ironic that the government is prepared to put $359 million into an untried ‘incentive bonus’ scheme for some principals and teachers yet will not pay a fair wage for the support staff directly helping kids who are struggling,” said Ms Nowotarski.

“We are still hopeful that the government will recognise the importance of a living wage for all school staff and for the families of the children they are helping to reach their potential.”

Ends

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