Hau Taki Haere | TertiaryUpdate Vol 25, No 18

“Sure, I can take on this new task, but I can’t do everything currently on my plate within my hours of work. Which of my other duties should I set aside for now?”

Saying “no” to unsafe workloads doesn’t have to be confrontational.

It is important to raise your workload concerns directly with your manager, so they are aware of them. The requests from your employer should be reasonable and ‘doable’ within your hours of work. You can’t be sacked for doing everything you can within your contractual hours of work. If you feel pressured, contact your organiser. Your union is here to help you.

So, knowing that, what’s the worst that can happen if we say “no” to that task which pushes you past your breaking point?

The job won’t get done. That’s all. And maybe your employer will be forced to hire enough staff to get the job done without relying on everyone doing more and more. And your paid work won’t be keeping you from your family in what should be their time not your employer’s.

And what’s the worst that can happen if you say “yes” to that extra task? You could miss important family moments. Your health could suffer. Other work areas of work may suffer. You could burn out. And the workload remains hidden, so the under-staffing situation continues and others don’t get a chance to be employed.

Too many of our members are already past breaking point. It’s time for us to use our collective power to speak up and say “NO!”.

TEU is launching a campaign to raise awareness of unsafe workloads and to help to expose the dangerously low staffing levels in our institutions that are pushing our members over the edge. But we can’t do this without your help. We need you to start saying “no.”

Over the next few weeks, we will share some resources to help you do this.

In the meantime, we also need your stories. We need you to tell us how and why workload is impacting on your life. We’ll be collating and showing them to employers and government to illustrate the toll unsafe workloads are taking on our sector.

To share your story, please contact our Communications and Campaigns Officer Enzo Giordani.

Also in this update:

Pay equity – Let’s make it happen!

Auckland Uni restructuring yields win for Māori and Pacific students

New COVID-19 survey report raises more dire workload concerns

New COVID-19 health and safety expectations

Other Stories:

Open letter to Minister Hipkins on student support during COVID-19 – NZUSA

Five of eight NZ universities see rise in cheating in 2020 – RNZ

Australian university sector sheds 40,000 jobs – ABC

Te Herenga Waka’s Grant Guilford is retiring after eight years as Vice Chancellor – VUW