As early childhood teachers undertake a week of action over pay disparity with their other colleagues in the primary and secondary sector, the Education Minister has reassured them that the Government intends to address the issue.
Chris Hipkins told TVNZ1’s Breakfast the Government also believes the pay gap between the early childhood teachers and other teachers is unacceptable.
“It’s unacceptable and it’s unsustainable and it’s built up over a decade, so over the decade of the last government the funding for staff salaries for those private and community-based early childhood centres was frozen,” he said.
He says because of this a big pay gap has opened up – but over the past two budgets salary funding has increased.
“It’s going to take a wee while but we are committed to closing that gap.”
Mr Hipkins said strike action would have no effect if it was directed at government.
“We are going to be working as hard as we can to address the issues that they are raising, they don’t need to get the message to us, we’ve got that message and we’ve certainly heard that message.”
He said many education centres are privately owned businesses so it’s more complicated to address.
“I do believe those employers do want to see their staff paid more and they do want to provide us with the reassurance that if we do provide extra funding that it’s going to flow through into their staff,” Mr Hipkins said.
“I think there is good will on all sides to address this issue.”