Polytechnic staff want facilitation after a year of negotiations

Posted By TEU on Feb 18, 2010 |

Tertiary Update, Vol 13 No 5

Tertiary Education Union members at the six polytechnics that have been in negotiations for nearly a whole year now, have again rejected their employers’ latest employment offer. Instead they are seeking facilitation under the Employment Relations Act.

Union members at the six polytechnics, NorthTec, Whitireia, Wintec, WITT, Unitec and Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, have been taking industrial action since September last year to protect their working conditions. Last year they offered to accept a zero pay increases at four of the polytechnics in return for retaining their existing employment conditions. However the employers have remained adamant throughout the dispute that they wish to increase duty days and reduce leave provisions for their staff.

Facilitation, as described under the Act, provides a process that enables parties to employment bargaining who are having serious and sustained difficulties in concluding a collective agreement to seek the assistance of the Employment Relations Authority.

The TEU and its predecessor unions have never had to use facilitation, as outlined in the Act, to resolve any previous dispute.

After a year of negotiations, if no agreement is reached, a collective agreement expires and the employer can start to offer individual agreements. The Polytechnic MECA expires on 1 March this year. However the employers have assured TEU that they “have no agenda of seeking to move to individual employment agreements for all staff”.

TEU is requesting that during this next stage in the bargaining process and post 1 March polytechnics continue to honour the MECA, for all existing and new employees. If this happens TEU members will not take any industrial action over the coming weeks while the Authority considers its recommendation.

Also in” Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Protecting public education
  2. ITF calls for rationalisation of polytechnic course
  3. Self monitoring tool for the gender pay gap
  4. Steven Joyce plays his cards
  5. New Zealanders soak up tertiary education

Other news

Almost half the schools offering adult education have pulled out and one estimate is that only” 10 percent of last year’s student numbers will be in the classroom this year after last year’s budget cuts -” The Dominion Post

Minister Maurice Williamson announces he is going to make it” faster, easier and cheaper for qualified builders and trades people to get licensed.

Our over-reliance on” downsizing is killing workers, the economyâ”and even the bottom line -” Newsweek

Fee-free education, free breakfast and plenty of support are on offer under the Government’s Youth Guarantee Scheme, and” Tairawhiti Polytechnic has 30 spaces to fillThe Gisborne Herald

A soon-to-be-released Otago University review of rules on” staff-student romances, sparked by the brutal murder of Sophie Elliott by lecturer Clayton Weatherston, may force a sea change at New Zealand tertiary institutions -” Sunday Star Times

Many scholars feel that their freedom to question is in danger of being eroded or even lost. The” Times Higher Education Supplement examines the threat in the UK, Europe and America

TEU” Tertiary Update is published weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the Tertiary Education Union and others. You can subscribe to” Tertiary Update by” email or” feed reader. Back issues are available on the” TEU website. Direct inquiries should be made to Stephen Day, email:” http://scr.im/stephenday

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