Sharn Riggs, currently national secretary of the Association of Staff in Tertiary Education (ASTE), has been appointed national secretary of the Tertiary Education Union Te Hautū Kahurangi o Aotearoa (TEU). She will take up the position when the new union comes into formal existence at the beginning of next year.
Ms Riggs says the formation of the TEU presents an exciting opportunity for all workers in tertiary education:
“The merger of AUS and ASTE introduces a powerful new advocate in the education sector. Together we will be a stronger voice for all tertiary education workers. This is an important role that we play for students and the wider community.
“Our members work hard for the students in our institutions, and they expect to be respected and paid fairly for that work.
“We believe in a high quality accessible public education system that gives everyone a chance and makes our communities and economy strong.
“We are an integral and significant part of the New Zealand union movement and we believe in working people working together to make things fairer and better for everyone. These are among the many issues the TEU will be working on in the years to come.”
Ms Riggs took a BA at Victoria University in 1975 and worked as an English teacher at Howick College. After wide-ranging overseas experience she returned to New Zealand to become education organiser with the then Wellington Clerical Union. She moved to ASTE in 1989, becoming national secretary in 1997.