Academics at Open Polytechnic walked off the job in a lightning strike yesterday to protest at their employer’s attempts to cut research and development time in their collective agreement in half. The staff voted at a union meeting to go on strike immediately, then proceeded to the office of their chief executive to inform her they were on strike. The strike was a short one and was over in less than half an hour, but local organiser Phil Dyhrberg is warning that there could be more industrial action to come.
TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs says the polytechnic seems to be in the invidious position of needing to prove to the State Services Commission that it has increased productivity before the SSC will permit it to award its staff a pay increase – hence the drive to cut research time even though the polytechnic itself professes to value staff research highly. The polytechnic is seeking, through employment negotiations, to cut its research and development time provision from 30 days a year down to 15.
“We were hoping that when Open Polytechnic recently cut the “The” from its name the resulting savings in ink and verbosity would be enough to show to the SSC but apparently not. Perhaps Open Polytechnic could cut further letters from its name instead of cutting its commitment to research?” suggested Sharn Riggs.