Beth Conrad

Beth Conrad

Recommend it? “Definitely!” says Beth Conrad about NZEI’s member call centre, which just celebrated its first birthday.

Beth (left), the finance manager at Tahunanui and NZEI rep, has called the centre six or seven times over the past year. “The service is wonderful.”

She’s called to get new forms and brochures, and with queries about back-dating of pay and pay rates for non-members.

“I would definitely recommend it to other people—you get an answer straight away and you can be reassured and it doesn’t cost anything.

“Even if it’s not a quick question, you are referred to someone who can help.”

Beth says that as she’s part-time and her field officer, Una McNair, is often on the road, she would end up leaving messages on the Nelson office phone, and missing the replies. Now she just rings the local number and goes straight through to the 0800 NZEI HELP centre in Wellington.

“We still see Una, she doesn’t come and see us any less often—but the support line frees her up for the important stuff, and we’ve got the answer we wanted to our question.”

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The NZEI helpline is available to all members. “I would definitely recommend it to other people – you get an answer straight away and you can be reassured and it doesn’t cost anything

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But wait there’s more

Centre manager John Robson says the centre has many benefits besides freeing up field officers and being ‘staggeringly efficient’

Because of all the problems the centre solves daily for members, it is able to identify issues that occur nationally and develop national solutions. Last year, for example, the centre received about 150 calls from PRT s starting new jobs and who weren’t being paid correctly.

NZEI identified the issues and put a proposal to the Ministry of Education that meant similar problems this year could be dealt with much more quickly.

The centre receives on average between 150 and 200 calls a day, and about 92 percent of queries are answered immediately. The rest are either dealt with by NZEI legal and industrial specialists, or referred back to field officers for local solutions.

“We can offer a consistent response to queries, and we can anticipate and deal with forthcoming issues, for example, around paid union meetings.”

To contact the centre ring NZEI HELP on 0800 693 443.