‘Choose staff not consultants’ TEU tells Lincoln

Posted By TEU on May 2, 2013 |

Tertiary Update Vol 16 No 13

Lincoln spent $1.2 million dollars last year on external consultants and has already spent a further $200,000 this year. TEU organiser Cindy Doull obtained the information from an official information request to the university.

TEU members are initiating for collective agreement negotiations with Lincoln today and Cindy Doull says she would rather see the university investing in its own staff than on outside consultants advising on plans to restructure staff.

“Lincoln University staff have some of the lower pay rates among university staff in New Zealand. Imagine if we just paid people well to do their job instead of paying consultants to come up with plans to cut costs and limit fair pay?”

Already this year Lincoln has hired four human resources consultancy companies to help it with change management, recruitment and legal advice.

In his Official Information Act reply the vice-chancellor Dr Andrew West cautioned that the term ‘consultants’ was a broad one and  so he had not included in his list to Ms Doull any consultant services that were “not in the nature of consultancy”. He also noted that appointing a new vice-chancellor, restructuring senior management, the new students’ association membership legislation and the earthquake recovery process all resulted in the use of consultants.

However Cindy Doull says the university should be looking to its own staff first.

“Every organisation needs to bring in outside help from time to time – we don’t oppose all consultants. But it is galling to see change management advisors contracted to provide advice on plans when our own members already have the on-the-ground practical experience as well as the incentive and skills to come up with practical ideas that will work.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Government urged to keep open mind over paid parental leave extension
  2. Pay equity gap grows
  3. Health and safety recommendations not a moment too soon
  4. The Student Voice doesn’t work without cooperation of tertiary education staff
  5. TEU supports the Feed the Kids Bill

Other news

The government’s new Employment Relations Amendment Bill deliberately weakens collective bargaining, and allows employers to exclude new workers from the collective agreement at their workplace. TEU has a petition registering opposition to the bill and the CTU has factsheets and information.

The Green Party is looking to reinstate access to student allowances for postgraduate students with its student allowances bill. The bill aims to reverse the Government’s policy, which came into effect earlier this year, which meant postgraduate students were no longer eligible for a Government-funded weekly allowance – TVNZ

“We have lost some very key influential people who have done some phenomenal work at that institution, and that board is appointed, I believe, by your department,” – Taranaki Businessperson John Rae asks the tertiary education minister to investigate the WITT’s council – Taranaki Daily News

Student debt remains a millstone around the neck of both the country and students. When the scheme was first introduced, it was on the basis of ensuring that students, who benefit from the education obtained, paid for their enhanced earning capability. The fact that there was an additional benefit of moving what was previously direct government expenditure to a loan “asset” on the balance sheet, would have made most 1980s creative accountants envious – Greg Thompson, NBR tax columnist

A thousand Australian university professors and associate professors are calling on the Prime Minister to reverse the latest $2.3 billion cuts to university and student funding. In an open letter to Prime Minister Gillard published in 18 newspapers around the country today, the impressive list of Australia’s top thinkers declare that the cuts “fundamentally jeopardise the future of higher education in Australia” – NTEU

With British student fees trebling in the last year, universities all say they are focusing on the “student experience”. But academics at some universities warn that the race for research status is pushing good teachers into the shadows – The Guardian

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