TEU members have elected Michael Gilchrist as their national president for the next two years. Gilchrist works at Victoria University as a Head Tutor in Philosophy and is currently completing his PhD thesis. He has previously worked in a range of capacities at the university and for the Tertiary Education Union.
Other office holders elected were George Tongariro from Whitireia as industrial and professional vice-president, Sarah Proctor-Thomson from Nelson-Marlborough Institute of Technology as women’s vice-president, and Hūhana Wātene from Unitec as Te Tumu Arataki, Māori vice-president.
Gilchrist says that his term as president will focus on continuing to improve the pay and conditions of members working in the sector, and building capacity within the TEU to influence the decisions that affect the tertiary education sector.
Gilchrist said: “We can achieve our goal of a quality, publicly-funded, accessible tertiary education system that is a source of pride for all who work and study in it by working together.”
“There is no doubt that 10 years of underfunding, constant change, widespread job cuts, and heavy-handed management has left tertiary education staff and students strained to breaking point.”
“As a union, we will need to keep lifting our game and maximising our influence at every level. We need to build on wins, like the end of competitive funding models for L1-4 provision, and this means getting more members to participate in ways that reflect our collective strength.”
Outgoing TEU national president Sandra Grey said: “I look forward to working with Michael Gilchrist and the new vice-presidents. Together they have decades of experience in industrial and professional campaigning, and I know Michael will be heading a team committed to high quality, accessible tertiary education which delivers for all New Zealanders.”
TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs said: “We look forward to working together with Michael Gilchrist to improve the conditions of staff in the tertiary education sector and to continue the work we have been doing engaging with the Labour-led government’s extensive work programme.”
Michael Gilchrist will take up his role as TEU national president in January 2019