Tertiary Update Vol 14 No 20
Prime Minister John Key said yesterday that, if re-elected, a National-led Government would introduce further changes to employment law.
National Radio reported that the Prime Minister was reluctant to spell out what changes National might make to employment law, refusing to say whether they include further restrictions on collective bargaining. However, he says that trade unions will not be happy.
Journalists and unions are speculating that one likely post-election policy that a National-led government might introduce is their 2008 policy to enable workers to bargain collectively without having to belong to a union. After the 2008 election, the National-led government assured the Council of Trade Unions that it would not proceed with this policy during this term.
Peter Conway, CTU Secretary, said, “we have already seen a raft of changes including removal of appeal rights against unfair dismissal, restrictions on union access to workplaces and making the fourth week of annual leave tradable for cash. There is legislation in Parliament making meal and refreshment breaks negotiable and the ACC scheme is under sustained attack.”
“The Government should spell out the further changes they are planning so that voters have a clear understanding of what they are planning if re-elected.”
TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs says that the changes the government introduced last year are already encouraging some employers in the tertiary education sector to behave poorly towards their unionised employees.
“Some employers are already attempting to limit union members’ ability to meet with their union representatives. Some have refused to rule out using the 90 day fire at will provisions and some are trying to make it harder for unions to recruit new members.”
Also in Tertiary Update this week:
- Overseas academics warned off University of Auckland
- Aoraki go ahead for one compressed course only
- Few women in industry training after school
If New Zealand universities are going to take world rankings seriously, they do need to act on the parts of the ranking methodology which they can control. The most obvious and influential of these is the student:academic staff ratio. They need to tell the government, which currently seems fixated on export education rather than high quality domestic tertiary education. The best thing it can do to promote New Zealand education providers overseas is invest in staff, and thus reduce the student: staff ratios, so that our universities have a chance climb up the rankings again – Sandra Grey blogs for Education Directions
Staff at the University of Auckland are threatening to stop teaching some classes and withhold students’ exam results as part of an on-going industrial dispute. More than 900 academic staff have voted to step up industrial action if a mediation meeting planned for this month is not productive, alarming students who are worried about the implications – New Zealand Herald
The Australian National University had to boost security for nine climate change scientists and administration staff following death threats. Universities in Victoria and NSW have also acknowledged threats to staff involved in the climate area. Universities Australia strongly condemned the threats as a fundamental attack on intellectual inquiry and National Tertiary Education Union president Jeannie Rea said public figures needed to “recognise that the debate around climate science could easily veer into dangerous territory” – The Australian
The negotiations between the Government and the SFWU/PSA over a settlement of the sleepover minimum wage dispute are continuing while the Supreme Court has set 7 September for the final round in the legal battle – SFWU
Let us not forget that ACC is still frequently acclaimed as a world-beating innovation. Making Accident Compensation insurance contestable has long been an ideological holy grail for both the National Party and the business sector, so the decision to open the workers’ account to private insurers comes as no surprise. But it’s hard to think of a less appropriate time to create more uncertainty in the relationship between business, workers, the insurance sector and the Government – The Listener
The Australian government has dropped the contentious system of ranking academic journals and assessing academics based on their ability to publish in the top-ranked publications. Previously, journals were ranked either A*, A, B or C –The Conversation
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.