Tertiary-education CEOs to face pay freeze as recession bites?

Posted By TEU on Feb 12, 2009 |

Tertiary Update Volume 12 Number 3

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie, who controls the salaries of senior state servants, including vice-chancellors and other tertiary-education chief executives, is saying that he expects all senior leaders across the state sector will exercise restraint in this year’s wage round. Mr Rennie has come under increasing pressure from politicians and the public to cap the salaries of highly ranked state servants.

Tertiary-education heads’ salaries range from those at Te Wānanga o Raukawa and Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiarangi where, according to the latest report of the State Services Commission (SSC), the chief executives were paid under $100,000 in 2007, to the vice-chancellors of Massey University and the University of Auckland who were paid in a band ranging from $520,000 to $529,999 during the same period.

Six of the vice-chancellors are recorded as earning more during 2007 than the prime minister’s current salary of $393,000.  Prime Minister John Key and Governor-General Anand Satyanand, have both requested that their salaries not be increased this year in light of economic circumstances.

Mr Key told the Dominion Post that other groups covered by the SSC’s remuneration authority should follow suit: “I’m sure judges and the like will also take a similar view … it is important that we, as well-paid New Zealanders, show leadership.” And the SSC was reported in the Dominion Post yesterday as saying that top civil servants can expect minimal, if any, increases.

The State Sector Act (s77ID) specifies that, while the conditions of employment of a chief executive at a tertiary-education institution may be determined by an the individual institution’s council, those councils first need to obtain the written concurrence of the state services commissioner to the proposed conditions of employment before they can be concluded with the chief executive.

In addition to chief executives and vice-chancellors, the SSC records that a further 2500 employees at tertiary-education institutions earn over $100,000 per annum during 2007.

TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs noted that it is more important than ever in the current economic environment that wages for low-paid workers continue to grow.

“Wage freezes for highly paid chief executives, whether in the public or private sector, are a valuable symbolic gesture of a changed culture, but other workers need more money if they are to help their families and communities through the crisis we currently face,” Ms Riggs said.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Doors open at Matapihi ki te Ao for more PTE students
  2. Call for more planning at Victoria’s faculty of education
  3. ITPNZ calls for ITP funding top-up
  4. More te reo courses but fewer students
  5. Tertiary education can join the economic rescue team
  6. French academics to hit the streets again
  7. Academic-freedom win at KwaZulu-Natal
  8. Business-school graduates learn the real-world skill of cheating
  9. Minister Gillard prepares to negotiate outcome of Australian Bradley Report
  10. International MBAs risk becoming “globaloney” as economic crisis deepens

More international news

More international news can be found on University World News:
TEU Tertiary Update is published weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the Tertiary Education Union and others. Back issues are available on the TEU website: www.teu.ac.nz. Direct inquiries should be made to Stephen Day, email: http://scr.im/stephenday

Thanks to omarrun @ Flickr for the photo

Thanks to omarrun @ Flickr for the photo

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