Pay Parity Campaign Update – November 2019

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Two friends at early childhood centre smiling and playing together holding a teddy-bear.

Pay Parity Campaign Update.
November, 6 2019.

We have been continuing advocacy for children to have teachers who are respected as teaching professionals and therefore appropriately remunerated – something that the Government can directly do something about through the attestation rates set by the Ministry of Education.

Sarah will be attending the launch of the National Party’s education discussion document next week as the party prepares for next year’s election, and will report on this.

We have been improving material to help give you a voice.  

The Petition: There are now over 13,000 signatures on the Pay Parity Petition.  You can find it here: https://our.actionstation.org.nz/p/ece-parity  Please keep encouraging everyone to sign it. 

Campaign book:  This provides you with considerable information on teacher pay and reviews the reasons for pay parity.  Get your free copy of the book here.

We note that NZEI are presenting a petition to the Minister this Friday.  Their petition is the result of their ‘Every Child is Worth It’ campaign; a campaign that has been going on since the last election.  It states “We ask that you honour your pre-election promise to restore early childhood education funding, deliver on 100% qualified teachers, and reduce teacher to child ratios.”

The NZEI’s petition has no mention of the pay equity campaign that they have been promoting, or of pay parity for teachers in ECE services. It also has no mention of their somewhat confusing 11% immediate pay increase promise to all teachers working in ECE regardless of employer.  It hasn’t delivered on its promise yet to give all ECE teachers an immediate pay jolt of 11%. 

Sadly for early childhood teachers, a clause within the ECECA was not kept by NZEI as it has spent the last couple of years working on putting together a claim for pay equity. The clause read: “The parties to the ECECA are committed to achieving pay parity with qualified and certificated teachers in kindergarten and in the primary and secondary education sectors for qualified and certificated teachers covered by this agreement.” 

The ECECA expired on the 19th September 2019 and NZEI appears to have left teachers who are covered by this agreement hanging, with no pay increase!  How could this be?  What then are teachers getting out of their membership fees to NZEI?

We have tried to engage with the NZEI, to discuss why it should be aiming for pay parity and not pay equity, but without success.  

We have spotted what we hope is not a typo . . . We are delighted that NZEI are finally advocating for Pay Parity!  If you check out their week of action you will see that it includes “A gathering outside Kris Faafoi’s office to show that early childhood teachers deserve pay parity.”  Thanks NZEI, it is best to be united and speak with one voice and we look forward to you joining in the campaign for pay parity.

The Minister’s Position

On 5th November the Minister of Education was interviewed on TVNZ.  (TVNZ Breakfast Show “education-minister-assures-early-childhood-teachers-government-will-address-pay-issue”). 

The Minister noted that the pay gap between kindergarten pay and pay in other ECE centres was “unacceptable and unsustainable”.  He said that “pay parity” is what the government is “aiming towards”. 

The Minister sees the “progression opportunities” available in kindergartens as justifying the KTCA pay scale.  He felt that other ECE centres did not have that and therefore the KTCA scale could only be applied with difficulty.  But “progression opportunities” have nothing to do with it.  The KTCA defines the teaching job and pay scale related to experience and qualifications.  There can be no justification for paying kindergarten teachers more on the basis that they have better career progression opportunities.  

Our clear, simple message

Our message is clear and simple.  Qualified ECE teachers are valuable professionals.  They should have pay parity with their kindergarten and school teacher peers. 

We are delighted that our clear message has been accepted by the Minister and that he has not allowed himself to be diverted by the NZEI’s various initiatives.

We have identified a simple mechanism to achieve pay parity; which is that the Ministry of Education require attestation that services are paying at KTCA rates in exchange for kindergarten levels of funding.

Our message is starting to get through – the Minister has accepted the need for pay parity.

We will continue to keep you posted.

Best regards from your pay parity steering group,
Sarah, Karen and David

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