Media Releases

Historic move by teachers in private early childhood centres

04 Jul 2022

For the first time, early childhood teachers working in privately owned centres have approached their employer to initiate bargaining for a collective agreement.

NZEI Te Riu Roa members employed by Evolve Education Group, one of the largest private early childhood education providers with 109 centres in Aotearoa, have delivered a bargaining notice to the company.

Evolve members want all tamariki to receive a high quality education and a collective agreement is a way to ensure this. Members are asking for improvements to their pay and working conditions that will ultimately result in a better learning environment for tamariki.

Evolve union members will be seeking full pay parity (with kindergarten teachers) for their qualified teachers and leaders, the living wage for support staff, more non-contact time and better teacher: child ratios.

The agreement will cover centre managers, qualified and unqualified teachers, administrators, and support staff.

The move by NZEI Te Riu Roa members is part of the mission to unionise and transform the early childhood sector.

Evolve members are looking forward to meeting their employer around the negotiation table in a timely manner to begin discussions on their first collective agreement.

Full list of claims

Value and Recognition:

  • Full pay parity and annual progression through a clear and transparent pay scale
  • Recognition of teachers in leadership roles with pay that reflects their added responsibilities, above government pay parity steps
  • A pay scale for all non-teaching staff and unqualified teachers beginning at the Living Wage, $23.65


  • An increased sick leave entitlement, above the statutory minimum
  • Increased non-contact time for all teachers codified in the agreement
  • A full day off on your birthday for all staff
  • Professional leave and/or paid time for professional learning and development codified in the agreement.

Quality teaching and safe environments: – A company-wide commitment to ‘real’ ratios, counting ratios by room rather than across the entire centre.