The brag book looks great here at Wintec.

More equivalent full time students are studying here; the institution won a WorkWell bronze award in 2018 and recently were ‘upgraded’ to a silver award; last year they achieved 100.8% of their core funding allocation (a fancy way of saying staff did more than they had promised to do); and, the institution has a 91% graduate satisfaction.

Tertiary Education Union members are happy about the strong teaching, learning, and research results in the brag book because this is what our members are passionate about.

Staff see the transformative power of education and that motivates our members to work hard.

They see the 45-year-old who was made redundant gain back some dignity when they complete a course.

And staff see the young, unemployed person get their first job placement. Suddenly their hoodie is off and the head is held a little higher.

What isn’t seen by the employer – it seems – is the efforts of our members (oh except in that brag book).

We’ve been negotiating with Wintec for a pay rise that reflects efforts of our members for the last four months.

We don’t want anything radical, a 3 per cent pay rise which reflects a fair return on their work. This is something New Zealanders do agree is important – everyone getting a fair return on their efforts.

Our members are guiding students so they can pass courses and can take all their great ideas out into our communities and workplaces. It’s time their employer – Wintec –  stepped up.

They argue there’s no money. All the efforts to get more students and to keep more students studying, which they’re bragging about, bought in money to the institution. Where did that taxpayer money go?

And if the institution is so broke,why didn’t the employer join us when we asked the government to review the funding model for the tertiary education sector. TEU members spent nine years arguing with then Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce that the funding in the sector was too low. Where were the Wintec leaders then?

We know that collectively TEU members made Wintec’s brag book look great.

We know that collectively TEU members have kept the computers going, the rolls being filled, the teaching conversations happening, and, the exams being marked.

We also know that collectively we can make sure that we get a return on all that effort.

So we’ll step up. We’ll stand together and take strike action (though we’d rather be putting our collective efforts into making sure every student is getting what they need to learn and grow). We’ll step up together because we know that collectively we can make a difference and that we deserve a fair return on our work.