17th October 2008
Crunch Meetings Ahead For School Support Staff
Thousands of school support staff will be attending paid union meetings over the next three weeks (Oct 20-Nov 6) to consider a pay claim to take into crucial collective agreement negotiations next year.
School support staff include teacher aides, librarians, office managers, ICT specialists and therapists. They are a frontline and skilled workforce but many are paid as little as $12.69 an hour.
NZEI Te Riu Roa represents more than 12,000 support staff and has been running a fair pay campaign to improve their pay rates, better recognise their skills and highlight problems around the bulk funding of their salaries.
Last month the Labour-led government promised to provide the additional funding to deliver a "pay jolt" to support staff to drag their pay rates out of the low pay bracket
"This is crunch time for support staff and we need to bargain that pay jolt into reality," says NZEI President Frances Nelson. "We have asked our support staff members to be patient for many years through various working parties and reviews. This time we won't be prepared to leave the bargaining table without a proper fix which recognises the vital role they play in our schools."
NZEI is also calling on the Education Minister to release the Report on Non-Teaching Staff Workforce which addresses some of the issues around the lack of job security for support staff due to the bulk funding of their salaries.
"We want a process to ensure that a funding stream is available to enable principals and school boards to implement the support staff pay rates without compromising other school funding priorities," says Ms Nelson.