Kindergarten teachers vote to accept settlement

NZEI Te Riu Roa’s kindergarten teacher members have overwhelmingly voted to accept a settlement of their collective agreement that retains pay parity with their primary and secondary colleagues.

Members voted on the proposed settlement in an online ballot that closed on Thursday night. The ballot came after four days of negotiations between NZEI Te Riu Roa kindergarten members, the Ministry of Education and kindergarten employers.

Lead negotiator Virginia Oakly says that she’s happy kindergarten teachers have achieved a significant pay increase, and that the hard work will continue in order to improve pay and conditions for the rest of the early childhood sector.

“We’re really pleased that kindergarten teachers have achieved a pay increase and have retained pay parity with primary and secondary teachers. We do still need to address pay rates and work conditions across the wider early childhood sector and we’ll continue working toward that as well as looking at opportunities to address workload and wellbeing in other forums,” she said.

NZEI Te Riu Roa is currently progressing pay equity claims for other early childhood teachers in the sector. The union says this is the best way to address the historic undervaluing of early childhood teaching.

The kindergarten settlement includes:

  • Pay parity with primary and secondary school teachers, delivering the same pay increases and unified pay scale primary teachers accepted in their settlement

  • An increase to head teacher and senior teacher pay, including incorporating the head teacher allowance into the pay rate

  • A one-off payment of $1500 (pro-rated for part-timers) for teachers who were NZEI Te Riu Roa members on 12 July 2019

  • A commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi

  • Refreshment and lunch breaks to reflect the updated legislation