TEU members at six polytechnics have won an important case before a full bench of the Employment Court that allows them to negotiate the type of employment agreement that they choose. Yesterday the court decided that TEU members at Northtec, Unitec, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Wintec, Whitireia NZ and Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki should be allowed to negotiate site-based collective agreements, as they had previously voted to do, rather than be made to negotiate a multi-employer collective agreement across the six polytechnics.
TEU members at the six polytechnics have been involved in difficult negotiation over the last two years with the six employers. During that time, the six employers tried to remove important working conditions from their staff. Eventually, late last year, TEU members at all six polytechnics voted they would rather negotiate directly with their local employer than with all six as part of a multi-employer collective agreement. But the six employers refused and initiated for yet another attempt at a multi-employer agreement.
Since then TEU has successfully ratified a site-based agreement with Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki. Now, with this successful court judgement, members believe they can start to negotiate similarly successful outcomes at the other five polytechnics.
TEU national industrial officer Irena Brorens says the decision is an exciting one because it shows that the employment court will support union members who work together collectively and democratically, despite the employers’ cynical use of the Employment Relations Act.
Eric Stone, NorthTec TEU branch president, welcomes the decision of the employment court and is pleased the group of polytechnics can now spend their public funding addressing employment issues and supporting student outcomes rather squandering it fighting the staff they employ.
For more information:
Irena Brorens, TEU National Industrial Officer, 021 770 843 or 04 801 5098
Stephen Day, TEU communications officer, 021 2900 734 or 04 801 4792