UoA academics turn down money for the bag

Posted By TEU on Feb 3, 2011 |

Tertiary Update Vol 14 No 2

Academic members of the union at the University of Auckland will be meeting next week to consider industrial action after the university failed to respond to their concerns over their employment negotiations last week.

After little progress was made in negotiations last year, the two sides resumed bargaining this year with mediation assistance from the Department of Labour.

The employer is seeking to remove several important terms and conditions from the collective employment agreement, placing them instead into university policy documents. If that happens the policies will be decided by university managers rather than as part of a negotiation between staff and management. These conditions include areas such as academic grades – standards and criteria, research and study leave, disciplinary procedures and outside activities.

These are key conditions which enable academic staff to do their work effectively. They have formed part of the academic collective employment agreement for many years after being agreed to between staff and the employer in successive sets of negotiations

Currently the university has offered a 4 percent pay rise in return for the removal of the conditions from the collective agreement. In response union members have said that they would prefer to retain the conditions in return for a lesser pay rise or even no pay rise.

The union’s negotiating team was disappointed last week at the lack of progress made in mediation and now says industrial action is likely to be necessary to keep current terms and conditions.

TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs said too many tertiary education employers were attempting to take away working conditions that made people’s working lives productive and desirable.

“I’m astonished that Auckland University isn’t listening when their own staff are saying they will turn down money so that they can do their job the best way they can, and give their students the best education they can.”

Member meetings will be held at the University of Auckland in the week beginning 8 February so that the negotiating team can provide a full report back to members.

Meanwhile, general staff at the University of Auckland have voted to ratify their new proposed collective agreement, which offers them a 2 percent pay rise.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. ITP MECA bosses don’t want let go
  2. 100s needed to replace retiring academics
  3. Debt grows as student jobs dry up

Other news

A nationwide petition has been launched by the early childhood teachers union NZEI Te Riu Roa, calling on the government to reverse the cuts to early childhood funding and commit to more investment in early childhood education. From today thousands of families will face increased fees as the cuts, which were announced in last year’s budget, take effect. The cuts significantly reduce funding for about 2,000 early childhood centres and services which have 80% or more fully qualified staff – NZEI Te Riu Roa

A scathing government report on the quality of research in Australia has led to calls that universities that conduct only small amounts of marginal, poor-quality research should be made into teaching-only universities, with the resources saved being ploughed back into strongly performing research areas – The Australian

Students are calling on the Government to immediately reject a baseless recommendation from the Savings Working Group that will make it harder to save. The Group’s report recommends, among other things, reintroducing interest on student loans after a student has graduated. “We understand the government wants to reduce its own debt, but in doing so it shouldn’t be putting on more debt onto the next generation,” says NZUSA co-President David Do – NZUSA

American colleges and universities must speak with one voice and communicate a strong and singular vision for higher education in this country, said Eduardo M. Ochoa, the U.S. assistant secretary for postsecondary education. If colleges hope to maintain financial backing, particularly from the public, they will need to “speak with one voice and articulate a clear vision for higher education and its centrality to the health of the economy of the nation.”  – The Chronicle

The increase of 1.7 per cent in wages for last year falls far short of price increases of 4 percent.

Peter Conway, CTU secretary, said: “The main reasons for wage increases cited in the Statistics NZ release were due to the cost of living and the incidence of collective bargaining by unions. Workers are now facing higher GST, food prices and petrol costs and this will add to pressure for higher wages – TVNZ

Enrolments at Otago Polytechnic are well up on the same period last year – so much so the institution may need to limit intakes later this year – Otago Daily Times

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: stephen.day@teu.ac.nz

Thanks to NZ Alex @ Flickr for the photo
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