Lincoln progression case on appeal

Posted By TEU on Dec 4, 2008 |

Tertiary Update Volume 11, Number 44

The Association of University Staff has appealed a decision from the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) over the interpretation of the meaning and effect of the promotion and advancement criteria in the Lincoln University academic staff collective employment agreement. The Employment Court will be asked to decide whether sixteen senior lecturers were entitled to advance from the bottom of senior-lecturer salary scale to the bar in six years, as prescribed in the promotion and advancement criteria, or whether the university can arbitrarily hold them back.

The university’s criteria stipulate that senior lecturers who achieve consistently high standards over a sustained period in the key aspects of their jobs can normally expect to reach the bar in the senior-lecturers’ salary range within a six-year timeframe. The criteria then go on to list seven elements used to judge the rate at which employees will progress. The crux of the dispute is that, not only does the university use the seven elements to determine whether or not applicants progress at all (rather than to judge the rate of progress), but it has also refused advancement even where staff have satisfied the required elements and been recommended for progression.

The appeal follows a rather vague decision in October by the ERA, one which appears to agree with the university’s submission that the promotion and advancement criteria set out the normal expectations for advancement, but allow for deviation and do not place any obligation upon the university to ensure that a senior lecturer progresses to the bar within a six-year timeframe.

AUS deputy secretary Marty Braithwaite said that the decision concludes with a finding that, in order to be able to progress through the senior-lecturer steps within a six-year timeframe, senior lecturers must first meet the criteria and the obligations of achieving consistently high standards over a sustained period in the key tasks of the job. “The puzzle is that most have achieved consistently high standards, but have still not advanced at the expected ‘normal’ rate,” he said. “The decision seems to say Lincoln can do pretty much as it pleases, which, in our view, is plainly wrong.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week

1.         Action against college job cuts
2.         Help in finding the “right” journal
3.         Export-education success in Saudi Arabia
4.         AUT, Auckland, Waikato collaborate commercially
5.         Melbourne staff strike for jobs and dignity
6.         Resignation forced at KwaZulu-Natal
7.         Schwarzenegger fails to terminate
8.         “Clever crazies” quitting science
9.         Battle of the Oxbridge podcasts

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AUS Tertiary Update is published weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the Association of University Staff and others. Back issues are available on the AUS website: Direct inquiries should be made to the editor, email:

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