Miserly budget means tough times for salaries

Posted By TEU on May 22, 2014 |

Tertiary Update Vol 17 No 15

The government is budgeting to spend less on tertiary education this year than it did last year. It intends to keep spending less for the next two years, says TEU president Lesley Francey, and that is bad news for pay and conditions in the sector.

“Budget cuts to public education are harmful for students, and their communities,” says Lesley Francey, “and they are just as bad for the people working in public education.”

Public education wages and salaries continue to rise more slowly than the average wage, and more slowly than inflation according to Labour Cost Index figures released two weeks ago. In fact the government’s failure to invest in public education is dragging down overall wage growth in New Zealand says Lesley Francey, “despite the ‘rock-star’ economy”.

Public education and training salaries and wages rose 1.1 percent in the year to March 2014 – half a percent less than the average 1.6 percent pay rise for all workers in New Zealand over the same period. Inflation (CPI) for the same period was 1.5 percent.

The 2014 budget cuts $3 million from its total tertiary education appropriation. If the appropriation had matched inflation of 1.5 percent, it would have risen by 46 million.

“With overall funding falling, employers will need to prioritise those things that most matter – their staff and students – if they want to protect high quality accessible public education,” said Lesley Francey.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. UCOL offer staff a pay rise at last
  2. Longer summer for Southland cleaners and service staff
  3. Auckland admin staff want to keep career paths
  4. Manukau allied staff get first TEU collective agreement
  5. Pink Shirt Day to oppose workplace bullying

Other news

TEU is supporting a Video to Vote competition encouraging tertiary students to make a short (2 – 6 minutes), snappy video about why it’s important to vote and be in to win $750 (for each category)  –Video2Vote

Thousands of university students protest in Australia against federal budget – The Age

University bosses have chastised MPs for taking what they call a dismissive and cavalier attitude to submissions on the Education Amendment Bill – Radio NZ

A tenured professor defied a gag order on speaking out against the University of Saskatchewan’s plans to cut staff and cancel programs, leading not only to his dismissal but also to a debate over the duties of management versus the privileges of academic freedom – The Globe and Mail

New York University issued an apology on Monday to any workers on its newly completed Abu Dhabi campus who were “not treated in line with the standards we set,” after The New York Times reported widespread abuses among a labour force that numbered about 6,000 at its peak – The New York Times

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