Finance Minister Grant Robertson hints at pay rise for teachers and nurses

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hints at pay rise for teachers and nurses HENRY COOKE Last updated 14:16, March 11 2018 DAVID WHITE/STUFF
: “We’ve got to take a realistic approach, but we’re very live to the fact that those groups of professionals probably haven’t seen the benefit they should’ve in recent years.”
Teachers, nurses and other public sector salary workers could be in line for a decent pay bump, has hinted.
Primary school teachers union NZEI Te Riu Roa has suggested a 16 per cent pay rise over two years as it prepares for negotiations with the Government.
Robertson won’t commit to that or any specific number, but he has said teachers, nurses, and other salary workers had missed out on the benefits from decent economic growth.
“We’re acutely aware of the fact that over a long period of time, teachers, nurses have said, ‘Well, we haven’t received the dividend that we’ve seen from the growth in the economy,’ ” Robertson told Q+A on Sunday morning.
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“They’re not alone in that. We’ve got to take a realistic approach, but we’re very live to the fact that those groups of professionals probably haven’t seen the benefit they should’ve in recent years.”
Asked if that meant they were in line for a “decent bump”, Robertson said they were “in line for a negotiation with us”.
“You know, when people start throwing figures like 16 per cent around, you’ve got to be pretty careful with a number like that. But it is time for New Zealand wage and salary earners to see better dividend from growth,” Robertson told Q+A.
“That can’t all happen overnight. Some of it’s actually about lifting our productivity. Some of it’s about making sure that we prioritise areas like health and education better than has been done in the past.” Ad Feedback
There has been a 40 per cent decrease in teacher trainees over the last six years, a problem NZEI puts down to uncompetitive pay demoralising the profession.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday that she could not comment on exact numbers ahead of a negotiation.
“But there’s no doubt that teachers are an incredibly valuable part of our public service,” Ardern said.
A 16 per cent pay rise would cost roughly $300 million.
“The solutions are not cheap, but tackling these issues head-on is the only way to stop this crisis in teacher numbers turning into an unmitigated disaster for our children’s future education,” union president Lynda Stuart said.
“The children of New Zealand deserve the best education in the world and the government has committed to that. We need to address these issues now, otherwise the crisis in teaching will only escalate and we’ll be faced with classes of 40 or more children.”
Teachers will meet to discuss the proposal on Monday. – Stuff

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