PBRF reporting in danger at Auckland Uni

Posted By TEU on Mar 3, 2011 |

Tertiary Update Vol 14 No 6

Over 250 academic TEU members attended a stopwork meeting at the University of Auckland last week and began a ballot on a campaign of escalating industrial action to retain important terms and conditions of employment in their collective employment agreement.

This action will cover a range of activities from writing individual letters to the chancellor and demonstrating at public events, to non-compliance with PBRF reporting.

The final ballot result will be known by Friday. However, cumulative results to date show an overwhelming majority of academic TEU members have voted in favour of industrial action.

The first public event to be targeted by academic staff will be the Alumni Awards Dinner on Friday evening.

Academics will invite alumni to ask the vice-chancellor why he is determined to remove the security of key academic conditions from their collective employment agreement and why he will not negotiate with TEU on these matters.

For many years the academics’ employment agreement at the university has ensured that entitlements to research and study leave, the academic criteria for promotion, discipline procedures and outside professional activities can only be changed by mutual consent.

“We will be telling them that the vice-chancellor wants these conditions removed from the collective agreement in pursuit of ‘administrative efficiencies’ and put into policy where they could be changed without negotiation,” said Professor Jane Kelsey. “We will share with them our deep concern that the removal of these conditions will adversely affect education and research at the university.”

The vice-chancellor did not attempt to negotiate any changes to these conditions during six months of bargaining with the union from August 2010 to January 2011.

Instead, he made an offer to non-union members while bargaining was in progress (the offer included a 4 percent salary increase contingent upon the removal of the above key conditions). He then put that offer to the union and made it clear that it was not negotiable.

TEU has been forced to file legal proceedings with the Employment Relations Authority and to launch a campaign of escalating industrial action to encourage the vice-chancellor to negotiate genuinely with the union.

To find out more read why Professor Nigel Haworth calls the university’s offer risible.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Tertiary education community rallies after earthquake
  2. Weltec staff retain hours of work and win pay-rise
  3. Interest-free student loans a victim of the quake?
  4. Another attempt to increase SIS powers
  5. Staff at Macquarie stop to for job security

Other news

Aoraki Polytechnic’s outdoor education programme has been saved. It got off to a rocky start when 40 second and third-year students arrived to find their four tutors on sick leave. But TEU, management and the council in a joint statement last week said: ” have worked together constructively to resolve concerns regarding the outdoor education programme. Aoraki Polytechnic is pleased to welcome the staff back. We know that our students enrolled on the outdoor education programme will have a productive year and achieve their desired qualifications.” – Timaru Herald

The University of Canterbury will install an additional 8000 square metres of buildings on the University Oval within the next eight weeks to assist with the progressive restart of the university.The sixty 12 x 12 square metre open plan spaces will be available for lectures, seminars, study groups and open plan offices for staff – University of Canterbury

Tainted money, allegations of plagiarism and surrender to the demands of angry student occupiers: the London School of Economics’ links to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of Libyan leader Mu’ammer Gaddafi, has become an ethical and public relations quagmire – Times Higher Education Supplement

Meanwhile, As Libya’s dictator Muammar Ghadaffi continues to murder and terrorise his people in an attempt to cling onto power, surely Education Minister Anne Tolley will sometime soon – but don’t hold your breath – move to annul the deal she signed with the Ghaddafi regime last October, on behalf of the New Zealand government. This deal – reportedly worth $30 million annually – entails Libyan students coming here to study, and would make New Zealand one of only five countries accepting students officially selected and assisted by the Ghaddafi regime – Gordon Campbell

Ahead of sweeping changes to uncap the supply of government university places next year, Australia’s tertiary education minister Chris Evans is warning universities to keep growth “sustainable” and ensure quality isn’t sacrificed – The Australian



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