Academics flock to union

Posted By TEU on Apr 7, 2011 |

Tertiary Update Vol 14 No 11

Academics at the University of Auckland have been flocking to join TEU since the vice chancellor at the university first began his attempt to remove important conditions from TEU’s collective agreement and place them instead in policies where they can change without members having a say.

In November when the vice-chancellor made his offer of a 4 percent pay rise in return for stripping out key rights there were 805 academic members of TEU at the university. Over the traditionally quiet months of December and January, membership grew by another 45 people. Then in February and March after members voted to begin a campaign to oppose the changes and to take industrial action, a further 40 new members have joined the union. With 890 members, 11 percent bigger than it was before the vice-chancellor tried to strip members of their collective agreement conditions, the union has now set itself a new growth target of 1000 academic members by May Day.

Yesterday the TEU and employer negotiation teams met again in mediated bargaining at the Department of Labour.

After much discussion, TEU proposed that union members retain the key conditions in the Academic and Faculty of Education collective agreements, receive the 4 percent increase and the additional annual leave. In return for this TEU would engage in a working group, during the term of the collective agreements, with representatives nominated by Senate and representatives nominated by the vice-chancellor. This group would try to reach agreement on any changes to the key conditions that the vice-chancellor identified, and to reach agreement on the various issues that have arisen in this controversy. Should the group reach agreement, any agreement would go to Senate to deal with, and to TEU members to vote on as a variation to the collective agreements.

For any proposed changes to be incorporated into the collective agreements, it would require a ratified agreement by TEU members; that is, the majority of TEU members who vote on the proposed changes would have to agree.

The employer advocates have said that they will take this TEU proposal back to the vice-chancellor.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Otago Polytechnic considers trimesters
  2. Too many mothers suffer workplace stress
  3. Global campaign for education focuses on women and girls
  4. New agency to promote international education

Other news

The effect the Christchurch earthquake will have on enrolments at Massey University next year remains uncertain. In the aftermath of the February quake, Massey University was among seven tertiary institutes accepting Canterbury students either temporarily or permanently – Manawatu Standard

Labour Party Leader Phil Goff has appointed David Shearer as the party’s new tertiary education spokesperson and Sue Moroney will take on Hughes’ education portfolio. Mr Shearer said the new role was a logical fit with his current research, science and technology responsibilities. Mr Goff seemed confused about exactly what role he had given Mr Shearer though, telling TVNZ “Sue and David will be strong, effective advocates for parents and children throughout the country.”

Infrastructure Minister Bill English announced yesterday that he is commissioning New Zealand’s first public-private partnership (PPP) schools. If there were viable bids to build the schools, a primary school would open for the 2013 school year and a secondary school in 2014 at Hobsonville Point, northwest of Auckland. Mr English admitted the financial savings from the new schools would be “relatively small” but gains would grow with more PPP schools. Dominion Post

The SIS Amendment Bill opens the possibility of the SIS creating an extensive army of informants immune from criminal and civil prosecution; NZCTU President Helen Kelly told the Intelligence and Security Committee yesterday. The CTU is recommending several significant amendments to the bill and calling for an independent assessment of the electronic surveillance empowered by it – CTU

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