ECE Fair Pay Agreement Process highlights elephant in the room

NZEI have lodged a Fair Pay Agreement on behalf of Early Childhood Education teachers | kaiako which highlights the urgent need for the government to rectify the entire dysfunctional funding system.

“We welcome every effort to ensure better conditions for early childhood teachers,” says Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood NZ Chief Executive Kathy Wolfe. “The value that we place on our ECE centres and teachers | kaiako reflects the value we place on our tamariki, and a fair pay agreement is a good step in the right direction.”

“A Fair Pay Agreement also provides several opportunities, firstly, to ensure there is an equitable minimum standard for employers and teachers | kaiako across the sector. Specifically, that means working conditions, pay and working hours across more than 4,500 centres in Aotearoa New Zealand.” 

“Te Rito Maioha represents all ECE employers on the current Early Childhood Education Collective Agreement, and employers want to be more invested in valuing their teachers | kaiako because ultimately this translates into quality education for our tamariki. It is about making every child matter and valuing the profession. But the government also plays a significant role in valuing our employers, the teaching workforce, tamariki and their whānau, and for any Fair Pay Agreement to work, it must be accompanied by funding, not by robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

“This is a good opportunity to be bold and courageous,” says Kathy. “However, any effective Fair Pay Agreement relies on so much decision making that has not yet concluded. Currently Pay Equity and Pay Parity discussions are works in progress, but the Education Minister, Ministry of Education and the sector have not arrived at any conclusion, and both are crucial to a meaningful Fair Pay Agreement for the sector.”

“It’s time for the government to urgently and adequately invest in early childhood education by addressing Pay Equity and Pay Parity, putting in place a new funding system that is adequate for all parts of early childhood education provision, a strategic workforce plan to deal with teacher shortages in the short, medium and long term, which in turn will support the improvement of child-teacher ratios, thereby emphasising the importance we place on our tamariki education.”

“Teachers multitask all the time, surely the Government can do the same.”

Fair Pay Agreements passed into law in October 2022.
To initiate the Fair Pay Agreement (FPA) process, a representation threshold of support from 10% or 1000 workers in coverage is required. Currently more than 5000 workers signed in support.
NZEI Te Riu Roa, the union for early childhood education, has been collecting signatures from ECE workers in order to initiate a FPA for the sector.
Information on the Fair Pay Agreement System can be found here.