Tertiary Update Volume 12 Number 38
Industrial action including strikes continues today at some of the six polytechnics covered by the ITP MECA.” Union members resumed industrial action earlier this week after mediation between them and their employers failed to resolve the long-running dispute. 950 academic staff who are union members at NorthTec, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Waikato Institute of Technology, Western Institute of Technology in Taranaki, Whitireia Polytechnic and Unitec have been in negotiations for nearly eight months. During that time there has been over a week of industrial action and also two days of mediation which was unsuccessful in resolving the dispute.
Tertiary Education Union co-advocate Chan Dixon says this week’s action has strengthened members’ resolve to continue to defend their conditions.
The employers’ group says it remains hopeful of reaching an agreement despite another breakdown in negotiations and has issued a media statement urging union members to return to the table and avoid further disruption to students’ examination preparations.
However Ms Dixon notes that when the union told the employers on Friday that members had voted to resume industrial action the union also said that the negotiating team was willing to return to negotiations as soon the employers had any change to their current position of seeking to reduce members’ leave entitlements and increasing their workloads.
“The six polytechnics and institutes of technology are using the current environment as a pretext to try to take working conditions away from people,” said Ms Dixon.” “That is simply not acceptable, especially as students flood through the doors and fill classrooms across the sector
Union members have removed all their claims from the negotiations apart from a modest and equitable salary claim. They are also seeking not to have their existing conditions cut.
“These people are academics and teachers who don’t want to have to disrupt students’ classes but feel they are left with little choice. They are prepared to undertake further action to prevent cuts to their working conditions,” said Ms Dixon.
Also in Tertiary Update this week:
- Wānanga executives take big pay rise
- Fiji govt shouldn’t stop Koroi speaking in NZ
- Student caps shouldn’t continue says Massey VC
- PM’s scientist: ‘Let’s make money of public science’
- Britain plans to treat students as consumers
In last week’s Tertiary Update we made a statement that Otago University and AUT are closing down for the week prior to Christmas. This statement is incorrect.” Otago is not considering this and has already sent to staff its plans for Christmas 2009, which have not changed from previous years. AUT is closing down but this has been its standard practice now for many years.
TEU Tertiary Update is published weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the Tertiary Education Union and others. You can subscribe to Tertiary Update by email or feed reader. Back issues are available on the TEU website. Direct inquiries should be made to Stephen Day, email: http://scr.im/stephenday