Six months without a correct pay

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Staff members who have not had a single correct pay since Novopay was introduced six months ago were represented at a protest outside Whangarei MP Phil Heatley's electorate office yesterday morning.

Jo Collyer, a member of New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI), the organisation that called for the protest, said she knew of staff members at a Whangarei school who had gone six months without one correct pay.

She said the school in question was forced to get money to the staff to ensure their mortgage payments went through.

"I don't think primary school education can handle any more attacks on it," she said.

The NZEI called for the nationwide picket outside National MP's offices to say "no more Novopain" for teachers and staff suffering under the stress of the payroll system, which was flawed from the outset.

More than 20 people attended the picket which saw principals, secondary school teachers, primary school teachers, as well as non-teaching staff, protest against the handling of the payroll system.

Meanwhile, Horahora Primary School principal Pat Newman said he is looking at employing an extra staff member to pick up the duties his administrator doesn't have time for.

He said the school's administrator was now working five full days on Novopay issues each week. Previously the payroll only took one hour to sort out.

"Stress levels are very high," he said.

Mr Newman compared Novopay to the lottery. "It's a bit like, who is going to get paid this time? Who is going to get errors in their pay? And how many hours is it going to take to fix?"

Rex Morris, a retired principal, said he has seen the stress and pressure the administration staff are under and wanted to show his support at the picket.

He said the educators are in it alone.

"What you've got is these schools out there under attack from so many avenues - national standards, charter school and Novopay, and they get on with it and get the job done without the support of the government, which I think is unbelievable," Mr Morris said.

NZEI wants the Government to agree to a package of support measures for schools, and to ensure adequate staffing and service levels at Novopay and the Ministry of Education.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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