Educators' pay equity claims in spotlight for Suffrage Day

18 September 2019

NZEI Te Riu Roa members will be joining with others across the union movement by wearing black and white in support of pay equity on Suffrage Day tomorrow, and urging the Government to commit to a settlement for teacher aides this year.

Members are partnering with the New Zealand National Council of Women to take the equal pay message out into our communities on Suffrage Day, demonstrating to the government that it’s time for fair pay.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said New Zealand women had come a long way in the 126 years since winning the right to vote, but the persistent pay gap between female-dominated jobs and comparable male-dominated jobs was an injustice that was taking a long time to put right.

"On Suffrage Day we want to highlight the incredible work that determined women are doing across many sectors to achieve pay equity.

"School teacher aides have been working with the Ministry of Education on this process for several years, but we are optimistic that we can reach a deal by the end of this year," she said.

"Teacher aides are highly skilled and have significant responsibilities for students' learning and often their physical care and safety as well. Yet, many are earning little more than minimum wage despite years of experience."

NZEI Te Riu Roa has now completed the assessment of the role of teacher aides and the four comparator groups of male-dominated jobs. Work is now underway to set the parameters for pay equity negotiations with government.

Early childhood teachers and employers from Barnardos, Salvation Army and centres covered by the Early Childhood Education collective agreement (ECECA) have strengthened their pay equity process by joining together for the next phase of work.

Several potential comparator organisations have been approached to begin the role comparison part of the process.

NZEI Te Riu Roa is also supporting the Council of Trade Unions' open letter and petition to the Prime Minister, calling on her to make urgent changes to the draft equal pay law that will improve and simplify the settlement process. 

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