One of the core TEU goals is to be the voice of the tertiary education sector. This role means engaging in submissions when the government is making policy and legislative change.

This last month has seen lots happening and TEU policy officer Jared Commerer has been working with other staff and members to ensure we have our say on a number of key pieces of policy and legislation that affect us all as TEU members, working people, and as staff and students in the tertiary education.

Since January 31 2020, TEU has contributed suggestions and commentary on six pieces of policy, legislation and government consultation documents, including the Sexual Violence Legislation Amendment Bill; two submissions to the Productivity Commission on their inquiry into technological change, disruption, and the future of work; the Public Service Legislation Bill; the Education and Training Bill; MBIE’s consultation on better protections for contractors; and the Holidays (Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage) Amendment Bill.

TEU’s submission on the Education and Training Bill allowed space to again state to parliament that in order to ensure collaboration across the vocational education sector PTEs must be required to meet the same standards for programmes and courses, for operations, for the treatment of students and for the engagement and wellbeing of staff, as those set out in the Charter for NZIST.

In our submission in support of the Holidays (Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage) Amendment Bill, we stated our response to the Bill as stemming from our commitment to the whāinga expressed in Te Koeke Tiriti and our wish to see these enacted in the tertiary education sector and in our society and communities. Specifically, our commitment to awhi atu, awhi mai recognises the vulnerability of mother and partner, and the reciprocity of support between employers and employees.

TEU’s submission on bereavement leave also stressed the importance of recognising unique tikanga within tangihanga/bereavement in Māori society, and ensuring that employees, their partners, and whānau/families are able to confer the miscarried or still-born the appropriate tangihanga/bereavement consistent with tikanga.

In our submission to the Productivity Commission on the inquiry into technological change, disruption, and the future of work, TEU stated our position that increased micro-credentialing is not advisable if our vocational education system is to facilitate life-long learning and the acquisition of knowledge and skills that extend beyond those linked solely to the workplace and labour-market dynamism.

We listened to TEU members and ensured their voice was heard in our submission on better protections for contractors. Too often we have heard from members about employers in the tertiary education sector using independent contractors as an attempt to circumvent the appointment of academic and general/allied staff who would be covered by the relevant collective agreements.

Our members’ stories and experiences as contractors helped us convey how the misclassification of employees leads to working people facing employment uncertainty, financial constraints, and other forms of exploitation.

You can find our recent submissions here