$500,000 increase in legal fees and consultants

Posted By TEU on Jun 30, 2011 |

Tertiary Update Vol 14 No 23

The five polytechnics that have, until last week, refused to negotiate site-based collective agreements with their staff members have also so far refused official information requests to disclose how much money they are spending on legal fees and consultants in their efforts to avoid negotiations.

However, recently printed annual reports at two of the smaller polytechnics, Whitireia and Northtec, suggest that the amount could be significant.

NorthTec’s 2010 annual report shows that it spent over $500,000 more on consultants and legal fees than it did in 2009 – up 195 percent from $286,000 to $844,000. Meanwhile the 2010 Whitireia annual report shows an increase in consultants and legal fees of $52,000, up 18 percent on 2009.

Neither report details how much, if any, of that amount related the polytechnics respective on-going dispute with their own staff.

Northtec’s report shows that it spent $269,000 less on salaries for its academic staff in 2010 than it did in 2009 but it also spent an extra $650,000 on redundancy payments (up 340 percent from $188,000 to $834,000).

The result is academic staff numbers have fallen for the third year in a row. So, as the annual report itself notes, payroll savings of $1.1 million have been offset by the added expense of third party contractors, additional redundancies and early retirement expenses due to major restructuring during 2010.

TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs says NorthTec has not saved any money but it has lost skilled staff.

“For Northland this means many skilled academic staff are now either out of work, or have not had a pay rise of any significance for over three years. Unsurprisingly, NorthTec taught fewer students last year than it did in 2009; which is shame, given the need for young people to be learning trades and helping solve the current skills shortage in Northland.”

Last week after the Court of Appeal has ruled the five polytechnics must bargain separate collective agreements, they announced that, despite all already having their own internal human resources teams, they would all be hiring the same external consultant, MartinJenkins and Associates, to negotiate on their behalf.

Also in Tertiary Update this week

  1. Ministry of Education told it lacks ‘shape’
  2. University of Auckland proffers its ‘best offer’
  3. PM hawks education in India
  4. Victoria cuts technology education again

Other news

In 1978 and 1981 a government was elected despite getting fewer votes than its main political opponent. No wonder we switched to MMP. It’s fairer – YouTube

Following comments last week by Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) chief executive Alastair Thompson, the CTU is now inviting union members to email the EMA directly asking it if it is serious about the pay gap between men and women, and what it intends to do about it – CTU

NorthTec and Te Wananga o Aotearoa (TWoA) have signed a lease that will see TWoA shifting its base of operations in Whangarei onto NorthTec’s Raumanga campus. The tertiary institutes also signed a memorandum of understanding that will allow TWoA students to move into NorthTec courses once their own courses have finished – The Northern Advocate

The requirement of a perfect score – 100 percent – to get admission into one of India’s leading colleges for commerce has highlighted the severe shortage of good quality higher education institutions in the country – University World News

England will move to a higher education system that is 25 per cent demand-driven and favours the brightest students and the cheapest providers, under proposals in a white paper released yesterday – The Australian

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.


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