Saturday, May 8, 2010

ZenTiger CEO versus teacher pay rises

Gordon Campbell thinks that the push for teachers to get pay rises of 4% is fine, especially as CEO's have averaged a 5% pay rise, and their salaries are considerably higher. You can read about the reasons, the outrage and the justifications on the link I just provided.

I just have a couple of comments that cover things Campbell didn't explore in his article:

Firstly, when the CPI increases by more than your salary, it doesn't matter what job you have, you are sliding backwards a little. On a personal level, that always sucks. Your only option is to try to negotiate a better pay rise, get a new job or promotion, or take it on the chin.

Secondly, teachers are paid by the government, and the government is overspending by a few hundred million a week. That may be the main reason behind the unfortunate reality of not being able to provide pay increases, without cutting in other areas (and maybe we need to cut spending in other areas). I'm not against teachers getting a pay rise of 4% per se, but the government needs to provide it by taking from other areas.

Thirdly, the upcoming budget may reduce taxes for different groups of people. Before any further pay-rises are negotiated (and I include the CEO's particularly in this group), we could wait until we see what the budget brings. After the budget, we may all be demanding 8% pay rises!

Fourthly, interest rates can hit the net pay packet very hard. There's another area to keep tabs on.

Fifth, how many of the CEO's work for the government? There are quite a few managers that use this title (CEO) that work in the public service. All of those CEO's have no more right to a 5% pay rise than the teachers, nurses, bureaucrats and police do. We need a break down over what government funded CEO's got their hands in the cookie jar before the teachers managed to run for the jar. That's where Gordon Campbell's outrage can be fairly targeted.

Private sector CEO's are a different issue. To be outraged that teachers (paid by government) get paid a smaller pay rise than people in privately funded organisations reeks of jealously and tall poppy syndrome. If the government's in the red, then we need to examine the reasons why and work to resolve it so that the government has the money to pay fair wages. I think we'll find that blame lies with the Labour Government from 1999 to 2008 and the impact of the global meltdown.

With regard to the global meltdown, we've seen that paying extremely high salaries and having golden handshake packages don't necessarily mean the company will outperform it's competition. Shareholders have been taken for a ride with some of the large multinational organisations in that regard, but equally shareholders get a hell of a lot of ownership over the company profits for a relatively small investment. They are different arguments, and had nothing to do with Gordon Campbell's rather simplistic rant.

And if you really want to get fired up over injustice, I know a brilliant teacher that doesn't get paid a dime by the NZ government. Now that really sucks.

4 comment(s):

Lucia Maria said...

Reimbursement of the amount that it costs to educate a child would be good. At the moment, even though I get some money for costs of materials, it doesn't even cover what I spend every year.

Anonymous said...

And if you really want to get fired up over injustice, I know a brilliant teacher that doesn't get paid a dime by the NZ government. Now that really sucks.

Well, it wouldn't matter if s/he was "paid a dime by the NZ government", s/he couldn't spend it in NZ.

KG said...

So, I assume you're fitted with a catheter, LRO--since you can't spend a penny?

ZenTiger said...

LRO, I see you are shrilling about my Canadian/American Shilling.

I would think you expect "no quarter" given for that comment, so pounds to pence you'll understand your nickel and dime comments are about as valuable as a plugged nickel around here, if they take that angle.

Indeed, a penny for your thought on this matter would have represented a vast overpayment :-)

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