Candidate for TEU president, Michael Gilchrist says he will extend political campaigning to industrial issues

Posted By TEU on Sep 28, 2018 | 2 comments


The election of a new TEU national president and other elected positions will take place between Monday 8 October 2018 and Friday 19 October 2018. This week’s Tertiary Update profiles the two candidates.

TEU national president candidate Michael Gilchrist is excited by the success of TEU’s current leadership in mobilising members in political campaigns and he wants to see this extended into the union’s industrial side.

Speaking as part of his campaign for national president, Michael said the “TEU has done a great job mobilising members to campaign politically, building influence in the sector and partnerships with students and other stakeholders. I want to continue that momentum. To do this effectively, we must extend our campaigning approach into the industrial side of our union.”

Michael pointed to the success of public sector colleagues who are now mobilising large numbers of members with strong public support to win change in their sectors.

“At the time of the last election there was a recognition that conditions for large numbers of working people had become intolerable. But the market place model of tertiary education remains and the ties that polytechnics and others in the ITP sector have had to the community are weakened. We need to keep campaigning.”

Michael says success depends on building membership density and effective communications networks that empower members. He believes he has the skills and experience to do this. He cites experience in “every aspect of the tertiary sector from just about every angle”, from representing post-graduates and jobs in administration, lecturing, research and currently as a head tutor in Philosophy at Victoria University, along with his leadership experience in a range of unions.

After graduating from Otago University, Michael became involved in the Wellington Hotel Workers Union, holding the roles of treasurer and vice-president.

While working as a postie, he was the founding chairperson of the Postal Workers Union of Aotearoa. He went on to become national secretary of the Trade Union Federation.

“I learnt how to build a union in the Postal Workers Union and how to be a spokesperson, to lobby and manage media in the TUF.”

He did time with ASTE and 10 years as an AUS organiser until he took up a scholarship to do a PhD, recently returning to do a short-term TEU organiser role.

Michael sees Auckland as a priority and says his experience at Victoria in dealing with VC Stuart McCutcheon is an asset. He is committed to maintaining work on Te Koeke and working hard on implementation internally and externally. And as an activist in the Living Wage for Vic campaign since it began, he wants to see TEU continue to take leadership in the living wage movement.

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