16 August 2011
For Immediate Release
School support staff set for pay packet boost
Thousands of school support staff are set to receive a boost to their pay packets following the settlement of their collective agreements.
The settlements come after four months of negotiations and will give most support staff a 4% pay rise over a little under 29 months.
There are 21,000 support staff in New Zealand and they now make up a third of the education workforce. They include teacher aides, librarians, office managers, ICT specialists and therapists. They work to support teaching and learning, yet historically have been among the country’s lowest paid.
NZEI President Ian Leckie says support staff are at the heart of their school communities and play a crucial role in the day-to-day running of schools, and supporting students, teachers, principals and parents.
“As a predominately female workforce, support staff have battled low pay and proven pay inequity for years. These settlements will go some way towards making up some much needed ground and recognise them for the important and professional work they do in schools”.
“Securing a 4% pay rise in the current political and economic environment is very pleasing and one of the most positive aspects is that the settlements lift the bottom rates for support staff to over $15.00 an hour. That’s a significant line to have crossed in the overall battle to address issues of low pay,” he says.
NZEI says changes are still needed to the way support staff are funded. They are funded through school operational funding which is a flawed model and offers them little job security as schools juggle their funding around tight budgets. They also predominately get paid only during term time.
The settlement still has to be voted on and ratified. Paid union meetings for support staff are being held around the country between 29 August and 16 September.