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Kindergarten workers have backing of Greens

8 December 2005

Kindergarten workers have backing of Greens

The Green Party is backing today's kindergarten workers strike 100 percent, the Party's Education Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

About 1770 kindergarten teachers are holding rallies around the country in protest at plans to change working conditions, including increasing hours and removing breaks between school terms.

"Kindergartens perform an exceptional service for our families and children - 45,000 of them," Mrs Turei says.

"We owe them our support as they struggle to protect the quality working conditions that make their service so effective for our children.

"The Green Party supports pay parity for kindergarten teachers and this must be made real, not eroded by these negotiations."

Kindergartens are evolving and changing the way that they operate to meet the needs of New Zealand families, she says.

"It is disgraceful for employers to take advantage of these changes to degrade the working conditions of their teachers. It will only lead to creeping privatisation of the services and a degradation of the quality of the service. Parents clearly don't want that - so we need to support these teachers," Mrs Turei says.

"Increasing the contact time for these teachers and abolishing the term breaks is an entirely unjustifiable degradation of their working conditions. There are no valid arguments that such changes will increase the quality of the service or contribute to children's education.

"These are cost cutting measures that the employers are trying to impose without consideration of the needs of the 45,000 children who use kindergartens.

"If the employers want a day care centre, they should go and set one up. They should not destroy the kindergarten philosophy in pursuit of profit over quality early childhood education," Mrs Turei says.

ENDS

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