Kindergarten teachers accept collective agreement

Photo: Kelly Hodel/Stuff.

Kindergarten teachers have voted in favour of a new agreement that will put their pay on par with primary and secondary teachers.

The deal gives them the same pay increases and unified pay scale primary and secondary teachers accepted following the May 29 mega-strike.

That means current kindergarten teachers will receive a pay rise of at least 18.5 per cent by July 2021.

New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa members will also receive a lump sum of $1500.

The offer includes a new top step of $90,000 for teachers and an increase in the head teacher and senior teacher allowance.

NZEI lead negotiator Virginia Oakly says she is happy kindergarten teachers have achieved a significant pay increase, and that the hard work will continue in order to improve pay and conditions for the rest of the early childhood sector.

​"We do still need to address pay rates and work conditions across the wider early childhood sector and we'll continue working toward that as well as looking at opportunities to address workload and wellbeing in other forums," she says.

Ministry of Education spokeswoman Ellen MacGregor-Reid says the ministry welcomed the vote taken by the kindergarten teachers in favour of settling their collective agreement.

While kindergarten teachers now have pay parity with the primary and secondary teachers, their negotiations have brought to light pay issues across the sector.

NZEI negotiates with the Ministry of Education on behalf of kindergarten teachers, but they only make up about 12.5 per cent of the early childhood education workforce.

The majority of ECE teachers negotiate pay and conditions individually with their centres, with the ministry setting the minimum rate for degree-qualified teachers.

This currently stands at $46,368 for a teacher who has a relevant four-year degree or a bachelor degree together with an ECE qualification. This will increase to $46,832 on August 1, equivalent to an raise of 22 cents an hour.

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