TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs says that cuts at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic highlight the danger of new employment laws that the government is moving to introduce.
The polytechnic is one of many around the country currently reviewing its staff or making people redundant, just at the same time as the government introduces laws that make it easier to sack workers, remove people’s employment rights, and reduce employment conditions.
Ms Riggs says that redundancies at tertiary institutions around the country are wasteful enough already, without the government’s new laws, which will leave many highly respected but redundant tertiary education staff facing new jobs with no basic employment rights during their first 90 days, and reduced employment rights from then on.
According to the Bay of Plenty Times Bay of Plenty Polytechnic is losing $2.2 million in revenue and 120 full-time students in the wake of government funding cuts. The budget cuts may also result in the loss of four staffing positions.
There have also been reviews and redundancies recently at many tertiary education institutions including WINTEC, Otago Polytechnic, the Open Polytechnic, Weltec, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Auckland University of Technology, the Open Polytechnic, Waiariki, the University of Otago, the University of Auckland, Massey University, the University of Canterbury and University of Waikato
“With one hand the government is cutting away funding for tertiary education staff who are working hard to give people the skills and qualifications they need to get jobs. With the other it is taking away those workers’ employment rights, so if they do get a new job it is likely to be less secure, less family-friendly and less well paid. This was a government that came in promising more jobs and to close the salary gap with Australia.”
TEU members will be joining the Fairness at Work National Day of Action next Wednesday as they attempt to convince the government to abandon the proposed new laws.