Family friendly settlement at VUW a winner for new members

Posted By TEU on Sep 20, 2012 |

Tertiary Update Vol 15 No 33

Union members at Victoria University of Wellington won an extra week of paid parental leave when negotiations concluded with their employer last week. Members will get to vote on whether to ratify the new agreements next week. TEU organiser Nicki Wilford said that achievement, and an agreement from the university to allow employees who have children at any of the University-based childcare centres, to sacrifice a portion of salary to pay for the childcare (thus saving tax), both led to a ‘family friendly’ settlement.

Nearly thirty people joined TEU in the over a couple of days last week immediately after the union and PSA settled collective agreements for all their members. The family-friendly victories, and a union-only benefit, that sees union members receiving their pay increase earlier than non-members do, led the influx of new members.

The two-year collective agreements, if ratified, will lift pay by 1.2 percent for the first year and a further 1.2 percent for the second year.

The new collective agreements also guarantee, during the first 30 days of employment, the terms and conditions of new employees who commence employment with the University will be the terms and conditions of the appropriate collective agreement.

“This right is one that the government intends to remove in its upcoming employment legislation,” said Nicki Wilford, “and so it is important to see it protected in our collective agreements before the government strips it away from other employees.”

The university also agreed, once again, that it would not create any 90-day trial periods for new employees during the term of the agreement.

“This is a positive agreement that protects many union members from bad employment law and gives more opportunities for working families,” said Nicki Wilford.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Global petition calls for more democratic trade negotiations
  2. Submissions favour 26 weeks paid parental leave
  3. Workload adding stress on academics
  4. Aoraki lacks dowry for merger partners

Other news

Dr Megan Woods to the Minister for Tertiary Education Skills and Employment (24 Aug 2012): Further to his answer to written question 3266 (2012), what amount has now been funded for EFTS, allocated to providers from reprioritised baselines rather than the $42 million funding announced as part of the Skills for Canterbury Package? – Parliamentary Written Question

In the latest “Education at a Glance” report published this month by the OECD, special mention is made of the step taken by Austria to eliminate its system of tuition fees. The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) says this is further evidence that the path set in New Zealand, where fees are allowed to rise relentlessly by a default of 4 percent each year, is the wrong path to be on, and needs to be put on the table to be reviewed again – NZUSA

The University of Otago has confirmed plans to lift a cap on international students to 15 percent of all students. At present, the number is just below the university’s self-imposed limit of 11.8 percent and forecast to rise further. Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has been putting pressure on the South Island university to lift the cap as high as 20 percent to help meet the government’s goal of doubling the economic value of international education by 2025 – Radio NZ

With its ruling in the Ward Churchill case, a Colarado court has effectively given the university’s board of regents the power to fire whomever they want, whenever they want, for unpopular political speech – The Atlantic

Private universities thrive as public schools suffer during recession – The San Bernadino Sun

Australian public health expert on the TPPA, Deborah Gleeson has been brought over to New Zealand by unions. Dr Gleeson will talk in Auckland and Wellington about the threat of the US-driven TPP agenda to public health, especially Big Pharma’s attack on affordable medicines and the tobacco industry assault on Australia’s plain packaging laws – TPP Watch

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