WITT-less polytechnic gang face growing opposition

Posted By TEU on Jun 16, 2011 |

Tertiary Update Vol 14 No 21

A petition calling on the chief executives of Whitireia, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, NorthTec, Unitec and Wintec to start negotiating with their staff is drawing a steady stream of signatures since it was launched yesterday.

Since being abandoned by the Western Institute of Technology in Taranaki (WITT), which settled a collective agreement with its staff in a matter of hours and then went on to declare a record surplus, the five polytechnics have continued to stall and challenge legal rulings rather than negotiate fair collective agreements with their own staff.

However TEU members at the five polytechnics have now launchedReady2Go campaigns -including NorthTec where staff hosted a free barbecue for students and Whitireia, where nearly fifty staff sent a written invitation to their chief executive inviting him to come to the negotiation table.

The petition, which TEU members from universities, wānanga, polytechnics and other institutions around the country have been signing, calls on the five chief executives to negotiate a site-based collective agreement with the union members on their site for the good of their students, and for the good of education.

You can sign the petition here.

In other news, TEU made an official information request to each of the five polytechnics asking for how much public money they have spend on legal fees and consultants in their attempt to avoid bargaining site-based agreements with TEU. Unitec has subsequently responded by refusing to provide this information on the grounds that it would unnecessarily prejudice its commercial position.

Also in Tertiary Update this week

  1. Exam time earthquakes create more uncertainty
  2. Whitireia and Weltec want one-stop wellyshop
  3. Cashing up annual leave
  4. Interest-free loans for economically important courses
  5. Equity support for refugee students

Other news

WITT had reason to celebrate last week as it coupled a graduation with the announcement of a record revenue surplus of nearly $3 milion. Chief executive Richard Handley thanked staff for their contribution to this. This comes after years of trying to claw back from a dire financial situation – Taranaki Daily News

Rather than cutting wage rates, for which there is scant evidence of employment benefits, we should be improving education, training and employment pathways. Are caps on tertiary enrolments and policies discouraging tertiary institutions from increasing their level 1-to-3 certificate enrolments – both also introduced in 2008 – disadvantaging … young people? – Dr Bill Rosenberg in the Dominion Post

In just 15 years, expenditure on research in Australian universities has more than doubled and now accounts for 63 percent of all spending. And 28 out of 36 universities could now be classified as research-intensive, given they spend more than 50 percent of revenue on research activities – The Australian

The NSW government will need to consider opening up its TAFE system to full private competition, but there is no concrete proposal at this stage. Last month’s federal budget promised an additional AU$1.75 billion from next year to jurisdictions prepared to sign up to a more ambitious and market-oriented reform of their respective public training systems – 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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