Before Easter, kindergarten teachers received a new collective offer from the Ministry of Education. The new offer, which will be voted on in May, has been described by NZEI Te Riu Roa as showing “vast improvement”.
The new offer includes pay rises of between 11.1 and 13.9 percent for union members, and increases the top pay bracket from $90k to $100k by December of 2024.
Read the Term 1 edition of School News HERE.
Virginia Oakly, spokesperson for NZEI Te Riu Roa kindergarten negotiating team, said that “for the first time the negotiation team feels like all of the priority issues have been addressed in some way.”
Crucially, the government has recognised the need for more sick leave. Oakly described this as a pivotal point for members.
“COVID decimated our sick leave balances. We had a heightened responsibility not to bring sickness into the workplace, but many of us had simply run out of leave. Working around young children means that we are exposed to every illness under the sun. Going into winter it remains a key issue.”
The new offer also begins to recognise the importance of kaiako Māori in kindergartens.
Reweti Elliott, a kindergarten teacher and member of the negotiating team, said “Kaiako Māori carry a big load in kindergartens around te reo and tikanga, so it’s very heartening to see this claim recognised in the offer”.
Oakly described the offer as showing “significant movement forward”.