People power brings possible settlement at Victoria University

Posted By TEU on Oct 6, 2016 |

Tertiary Update Vol 19 No 34

People working at Victoria University of Wellington will start voting tomorrow on a new collective agreement that protects their weekends and evenings and offers a $1200 pay rise.

Negotiations had not reached an agreement until union members took industrial action where they dressed in red and played the Split Enz song I See Red on the hour, every hour, for a day.

Shortly thereafter negotiations resumed and quickly moved to a conclusion.

TEU Deputy Secretary Nanette Cormack, the union’s advocate at the negotiations, says her team is recommending people vote in favour of the proposed settlement.

“Everyone’s salary will increase by $1,200 and some of Victoria’s lowest paid people – library shelvers, desk assistants and lower paid library assistants – will increase by more than that.”

Cormack says the new general staff salary rates that the university introduced earlier this year will now go in the collective agreement and all new staff will be employed on these rates.  Existing staff can choose to stay on their current salary scales or transfer to the new bands.  For new staff and those who transfer there will be changes to long service leave and retirement leave.

Now that the rates are in the collective agreement people working at the university will be able to negotiate them in the future – something that the university opposed before the I See Red action.

Union members who are covered by the General Staff, Academic Staff and Research Assistants and Research Fellows Collective Agreements will receive ballot information emails tomorrow.

The email ballot will close on Friday 14 October.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. #Love Humanities rally at Otago
  2. Unions reject Productivity Commission report
  3. Mr Key, here’s one way to cut child poverty
  4. Some facts about the student loan scheme

Other news

[W]hat I was really impressed, or depressed, to learn is just how unhappy many of my colleagues are. They, like me, love their work, but they do not love their job at the University of Auckland. Especially with the younger ones, and perhaps especially the women, they feel insecure, unappreciated, frustrated, in a workplace that has become increasingly bureaucratised; in which “management” has seemingly lost sympathy with our core academic values – Tim Hazledine

Today the university sector is big business with 172,000 students enrolled nationally.  The collective expenditure of the eight universities is $3.4 billion annually, which is about 1 percent of New Zealand’s GDP.  They employ about 20,000 academic and other (full-time equivalent) staff, nearly 1 percent of the workforce – Universities NZ

After months of repeated calls for her release, Homa Hoodfar, an internationally renowned anthropologist and professor at Montreal’s Concordia University, is now free after being imprisoned in Iran since June – Education International

The plight of broke PhD students doing hours of unpaid work is scandalous. We need permanent staff and unions to acknowledge this, and help – The Guardian

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