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BOP teacher aides benefit from pay equity deal

Image: RNZ / Richard Tindiller.

Teacher aides’ lives are going to be a lot easier after voting for an historic pay equity settlement, says a teacher aide at Tauranga Special School.

Marcia Martin has been on the negotiations team of NZEI Te Riu Roa working with the Ministry of Education on the equity deal.

She says it wonderful, because teacher aides have been underpaid and undervalued for a long time.

Teacher aides are now going to have that little bit extra, she says.

“You're not having to live week by week or having two or three jobs or just so that you can pay your rent.”

Most teacher aides will now receive pay rises of 23 to 34 per cent across the course of 2020, that’s an increase of $4 to $6.60 an hour

Marcia says it has been 10 years since she has had a decent pay rise.

“I've been on the top of my grade for 10 years. So for the likes of me, it actually is as a huge, significant change in my life.”

The pay equity claim was initiated in 2016 and Marcia says they have been negotiating for about a year.

Schools will be funded to pay the increased rates.

Teacher aide Ally Kemplen, who was also on the negotiating team, says the endorsement is a significant milestone.

"It was really heartening to see how teacher aides responded to the settlement after four hard years of work to get this settlement across the line.

"We're really hopeful that this settlement can create the momentum needed for other school support staff to get their pay equity claims settled as quickly as possible."

During the endorsement period for teacher aides, school administration staff and kaiarahi i te reo took their own step closer to pay equity with the signing of terms of reference for their two pay equity claims between NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Ministry of Education.

The signing of the terms of reference kick starts the job assessment phase of the pay equity process.

Starting early next term, interviews will be conducted with admin staff and kaiarahi i te reo to get a full understanding of the scope and variety of their work and to ensure they are then properly valued for the complex and demanding jobs they do.

Now that teacher aides have endorsed their pay equity settlement, NZEI Te Riu support staff members will vote to vary their collective agreement to take in the terms of the settlement. Following this, all teacher aides will be automatically transferred to new pay steps.

All teacher aides will start receiving the new pay rates by November 2020, backdated to February 12, 2020.

In addition to pay increases, the teacher aide settlement changes the way skills are assessed, includes a more flexible and increased Tiaki allowance - formerly “dirty work” allowance, makes changes to how much hours can be varied and increases professional learning and development funding.

A commitment has also been made to investigate central funding, the use of fixed term contracts and the development of career pathways.

More details of the settlement and the endorsement process are at www.teacheraides.nz

 

 

 

 

 

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