Auckland’s ‘fair pay’ strikes escalate

Posted By TEU on Oct 27, 2016 |

Tertiary Update Vol 19 No 37

People working at the University of Auckland undertook several hour-long strikes this week as they continued their campaign for fair pay.

One TEU member, Mark Amsler, says people are very energised.

“We’ve been negotiating for a long time now. We want fair pay for everyone, not just some people, and we want the university to respect the process of negotiating as a collective.”

People gathered publicly at the university’s education faculty in Epsom on Tuesday and at the Grafton and Tāmaki campuses yesterday morning before a large crowd met at the university’s central campus yesterday afternoon.

The people on strike want the university to negotiate pay with them now rather than after the university sets its budget. They want the university to pay more money to the people who earn the least, and they want an end to the failed professional staff performance pay system that freezes most people’s pay and undermines performance.

Next week union members at the university will start refusing to work more than their agreement  hours.

Academics, who do not have specified hours in their collective agreement, intend to focus on their teaching, learning and research work, but all other tasks will, as Amsler says, “take a back seat”.

Amsler says the negotiating  team will be returning to negotiations on Monday, hoping for substantive talks especially around the fair pay claims people are making.

“We are trying to make a point about whose work at the university gets valued and how the university functions because of that work.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Language cuts are cuts to culture and curiosity
  2. Otago University settles on flat rates
  3. EIT on a path to Living Wage
  4. Clutha Leaders have a plan for future of Telford
  5. Minister defends cuts to longitudinal study

Other news

Fundraising efforts for the University of Otago humanities division hit a hurdle at the $6 mark last week – Otago Daily Times

Some say women don’t negotiate hard enough when it comes to pay equity, but economist Shamubeel Eaqub rejects this as outrageous. “The system is stacked, and the system is discriminatory. There are more men in positions of power and they discriminate. There is this uneven playing field. We need to have a public policy solution that evens this out by force. [So positive discrimination?] Absolutely.” – Radio NZ

The University of Canterbury has put up its parking rates from $455 for staff this year, to $600 in 2017, $800 in 2018 and $1000 in 2019.  TEU argued for a 10 percent increase with a sliding scale for those on $16 an hour but was ignored.

Voluntary Student Membership has meant student associations have become “increasingly reluctant to bite the hand that feeds them”, OUSA vice-president Jarred Griffiths says. This reluctance to speak out is the consequence of the transfer of funding of the associations’ services from students to institutions – Otago Daily Times



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