Aucklanders collar control of their academic working conditions

Posted By TEU on Nov 25, 2011 |

Tertiary Update Vol 14 No 44

Academic staff who are members of TEU will be voting on a new collective agreement over the next two weeks after their negotiating team reached an agreement with the vice-chancellor today.

Academics at the university are currently all on individual employment agreements, after their collective agreement expired earlier this year. Academics had to undertake a sustained and determined campaign of industrial action over the past year. Three days of facilitated bargaining before the Employment Relations Authority earlier this month helped the two sides reach an agreement.

The new agreement will include a set of principles or “collars” to govern those issues that had been at the heart of the dispute between union members and university management –  policies on research and study leave, academic standards, grades and criteria, outside work, and a revised discipline procedure. If university management wishes to alter the existing policies, any new policy will have to comply with those principles. The overall effect is to remove some details regarding these policies from the agreement, but strengthen the principles that govern those policies.

The review of the research and study leave, academic standards, grades and criteria and outside work policies will be subject to a process that involves TEU. The vice-chancellor also recognises more generally in the settlement that the union has a role to play in the academic governance of the university and provides mechanisms by which TEU can exercise that role.

TEU members will also receive a 4 percent salary increase and a $2,000 (gross) lump sum payment, which will be in lieu of back pay. A further 2 percent salary increase will be paid from 1 February 2012. This is significant because that it is the first time in five years that a salary increase has been negotiated during bargaining by the union and not been announced by the vice-chancellor to non-members outside of the bargaining. Annual leave will increase to 5 weeks (inclusive of Easter Tuesday and the last weekday before Christmas).

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Government’s new tertiary policy punishes failure
  2. ‘The vandals at the gate’
  3. Rally calls for education to be election issue
  4. Two South Island polytechnics settle new collective agreements
  5. Auckland general staff vote on new ‘fair’ pay model

Other news

Although good reasons can always be put forward for more bureaucratic requirements, university management must be wary of possible downsides on staff morale and effectiveness. All the time spent here can be time not spent researching and teaching – Otago Daily Times editorial

Minister for Tertiary Education, Steven Joyce, has confirmed the merger of Whitireia NZ and Wellington Institute of Technology (Weltec) councils. “It is an exciting development that will provide opportunities for the institutions to work more closely together for the benefit of students right across the Wellington region,” says Mr Joyce

Photos of Te Uepu hui on 20 November and TEU annual conference 21-22 November

The University of California chancellor has apologised to students for police use of pepper spray against campus protesters in a standoff captured by video and widely replayed on television and the internet. The pepper-spraying last week led to the suspensions of the campus police chief and two officers, and thrust the normally quiet, conservative and mostly apolitical UC Davis campus to the forefront of anti-Wall Street Occupy protests nationwide – The Guardian

“[University] Rankings are a lot like political polling and research in this respect – they can be a useful indicator of performance and add a sense of sporting competition to media coverage, but trouble emerges if they become the central motivator of decision makers,” Monash University vice chancellor Ed Byrne has warned – The Australian

Authorised by Sharn Riggs, Tertiary Education Union, 8th Floor, Education House 178-182 Willis St, Wellington 6011.

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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