Following the pay equity settlement for aged care and community support workers, early childhood teachers are looking to follow suit. Union NZEI Te Riu Roa is launching a new claim for pay equity for early childhood teachers and staff.

The claim has two parts. The first would see unqualified support staff paid in line with aged care workers, who recently won 20 to 40 percent pay rises as part of their pay equity settlement in April.

The second would see qualified teachers working outside of the kindergarten sector paid in line with their kindergarten colleagues, which would result in pay rises of between $2000 and $9000 a year.

“This is not to say that kindergarten teachers are paid fairly,” says NZEI president Lynda Stuart, “But by bringing the groups together on one pay scale, this is the first crucial step toward pay equity for all teachers in ECE.”

The union says the same rationale that led to the aged care settlement is applicable to the ECE sector.

“ECE teachers and support staff have been undervalued and underpaid for too long, just because their work has historically been done by women,” says Stuart.

“Early childhood teachers and staff nurture children’s learning at the most crucial time in their education, yet are some of the lowest paid people in New Zealand.”

“Today, we’re uniting the entire early childhood sector in a bid for pay equity, reaching out to teachers and staff in the private and community sector who are not part of a union, and inviting everyone to join the campaign for fair pay.”

The claim for ECE teachers comes after the Ministry of Education has agreed with unions to start pay equity talks for around 12,000 teacher aides within a month of settling their current pay claim.

The Ministry of Education has agreed with unions E tū and the NZ Educational Institute (NZEI) to start pay equity talks for about 12,000 teacher aides and school support staff within a month of settling their current pay claim.

Ellen MacGregor-Reid, deputy secretary of Early Learning and Student Achievement says the Government has agreed to make it easier for women to file pay equity claims with their employers and to assist employers to address those claims.

“We have not yet received a pay equity claim for ECE teachers and support staff from NZEI. If a claim is received, the first step will be to assess the nature and status of the claims.”


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