University staff seek assurance reviews will not increase workload

Posted By TEU on Mar 22, 2012 |

Tertiary Update Vol 15 No 8

Employment negotiations for thousands of university staff at seven of New Zealand’s eight universities will begin in three months’ time, and union members are already working out what the main issues they need to see addressed to improve their working life.

One of the biggest issues facing many staff is increasing workloads because of staff numbers not keeping pace with student numbers. TEU members across all seven universities will be claiming employment protection for staff whose workload increases because of redundancies or restructuring.

The nationwide claim says if within six months of a review, restructuring or management of change process concluding, employees believe that their workloads are excessive, or that staffing levels are not sufficient, they may request a review of their workload. If the review finds that workloads are not safe, equitable, or reasonable the university must take appropriate steps to remedy the situation.

TEU university academic vice-president John Prince says the short-term effect of reviews is stress and job losses, but the long-term effect, if reviews are poorly conceived, is increasing workloads.

“We want an assurance that the many reviews currently taking place are not just about cutting staff numbers and shifting all the existing work onto those staff who remain.”

Employment negotiations will begin at the end of June for staff at the universities of AUT, Canterbury, Lincoln, Otago, Massey, Victoria and Waikato.

If you have a workload story to support TEU’s negotiations, leave a comment below.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Restructuring affecting 500 workers
  2. New super ministry to manage commission
  3. Farewell Ray Fargher
  4. Auckland ports back down on contracting out
  5. Aussie tutors join the ‘Precariat’ workforce
  6. International trade agreement akin to asset sales

Other news

There is a nasty narrative creeping into the national conversation New Zealand is having about education these days, that of the superhero teacher. If you’re unfamiliar with the plot line, it goes something like this. There is a massive achievement gap in academic achievement and this gap is because of bad schools. Since teachers are the most important things in schools, if the schools aren’t delivering then it must be because teachers aren’t delivering. Enter the superhero teacher – Teaching the Teacher

A Cambridge student was suspended from the university for two-and-a-half years today for his part in a protest during a speech by the Universities Minister David Willetts. The “unprecedented” sentence handed down to Owen Holland, a PhD student in the Faculty of English, came on the same day as students marched in London and walked out of institutions across the country to demand Mr Willetts’ resignation – The Independent

A private computer training institute with hundreds of students has gone bust owing more than $8.3 million in tax, penalties and interest. Computer Power (NZ) Ltd, which runs Computer Power Institute campuses in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland, was put into liquidation in the High Court at Wellington this week. The institute has about 750 students including about 150 international students. The 47 staff have been paid until the end of the month – Dominion Post

An Indian immigration consultancy claiming to operate in NZ (and actually operating in India) has used a murdered US student’s image in their marketing (seemingly lifted from the Internet). It works with, among others, Canterbury, AUT, BOPP and Unitec – ED Blog

TAFE has hit the wall in Victoria’s open training market, with unprecedented private college growth relegating the public provider into minority status and throwing its financial viability into question. Details from an unpublished quarterly report from Skills Victoria, which shows that TAFEs now have less than half of the government-supported enrolments, emerged the day after Prime Minister Julia Gillard said states needed to protect their TAFEs –The Australian

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