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Teacher aides to go into pay equity negotiations before Christmas - NZEI

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Teacher aides have welcomed the Ministry of Education's agreement to begin pay equity negotiations in the week of December 16th.

The Ministry of Education and NZEI Te Riu Roa yesterday signed a framework for the pay equity bargaining for teacher aides. The framework addresses both short-term issues such as pay rates and allowances as well as the need for more comprehensive, longer-term changes to address job insecurity, career pathways and the way funding is delivered to schools for teacher aides.

Teacher aide Ally Kemplen, who is on NZEI Te Riu Roa's pay equity negotiation team, says teacher aides will be welcoming the long-awaited negotiations.

"These negotiations will give us the opportunity to build on the offer last week of a Living Wage as the base pay for all support staff, and to win fair pay that truly reflects the essential contribution teacher aides make to children's learning," she says.

"At the moment, most teacher aides have insecure fixed-term jobs and many have to find extra work or go on the benefit just to survive outside of the school term. We'll be pushing for a pay equity settlement to include changes to the Ministry's funding model so that teacher aides can have secure and sustainable employment."

The teacher aide claim, raised by NZEI Te Riu Roa members more than two years ago, addresses the historic under-valuation of the expertise, skills and responsibilities of teacher aides, who are predominantly women. Teacher aides play a critical role in supporting children with the most challenging learning needs and are essential to 21st century teaching and learning.

The pay equity claim is a separate process to the support collective agreement negotiations. Members will vote on a collective agreement offer from the Ministry of Education, which includes the Living Wage as a new minimum rate, over the coming week.

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