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MOE employees supporting kids with learning needs to strike

Learning Support Service Managers, the Education Ministry staff responsible for the allocation and management of support services for children with additional learning needs, are set to take strike action from Monday [21 January] after a bid to gain parity with other managers employed by the Ministry of Education failed.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said: "Service Managers are the glue that hold the Learning Support system together for children and their families. They each manage a team of 10-25 specialist staff as well as up to 25 support workers, and they play a critical role in ensuring relationships with parents, schools, ECE services, teachers, boards, other external agencies and NGOs work in tandem to meet the needs of children with additional learning needs."

"It's only fair that Service Managers get parity with other managers employed by the Ministry of Education. By refusing to provide parity, the Ministry is showing that it does not properly value either these staff or the children they are there to support. This is yet another example of workers in the education sector not being recognised for the critical work they do. If the Ministry wants Service Managers to keep going the extra mile, they cannot expect them to keep running on empty."

Members voted in a secret ballot last week to strike until the end of February. The strike will run from 7.00am on 21 January 2019 until 28 February 2019 at 7.00pm, and means:

- A ban on attending meetings (internal or external) at which the Learning Support Update and/or the Service Delivery Model is on the agenda or added to it; and
- A ban on working beyond 8 hours a day; and
- A ban on working beyond 40 hours per week.

The latest offer from the Ministry was rejected overwhelmingly by members because it did little to shift workers to a comparable rate to other managers in the Ministry. The rejected offer included a 2% pay increase from signing of the terms of settlement, a further 2% increase on 1 March 2019 and a gross lump sum payment $700.

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