TEU members have voted Dr Sandra Grey to return as their national president for the next two years. Grey, who was previously president during 2011-2012, is a senior lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington in social and public policy.
Grey’s election coincides with the re-election of a National government and she says her term as president will be guiding members through that challenge.
The government already has two crucial bills before parliament, which have passed their first two readings and only have one more vote to become law, says Grey.
The first takes away significant work rights and undermines the ability of union members to organise for fair pay. The second removes democratically elected staff and student representatives from university councils, increasing the power that the minister’s political appointments have on those councils, and undermining academic freedom.
With the national government’s re-election, both those bills will now probably pass into law very soon.
“Those are big challenges for people working in universities, polytechnics and tertiary education generally,” says Grey. “We need to support each other and work as a team if we are going to protect our ability to stand up for our students, and to give the best possible education we can.”
Grey beat the incumbent TEU national president Lesley Francey, of Manukau Institute of Technology, and will take up her role as TEU national president at the start of the New Year. In the meantime, she is finishing her current year teaching and writing several chapters for books.