Oh for leadership on equity and collaboration in tertiary educationsectorTrue leadership means tackling tough issues and putting what’s good for thepublic above your own private benefits.And true leadership was shown this week with government announcements to halt MP pay increases, dial back the pay ofstate sector chief executives, and end performance pay (with the agreement of state sector chief executives).So will the leaders in our universities, wananga, and polytechnics becourageous enough to follow the government’s lead?Will they address their own salaries, which in many cases are higher than what the Prime Minister earns. They could very easily follow Jacinda Ardern and MPs from across thepolitical spectrum and freeze their own pay rates for a year while wecollectively discuss how to best set the salaries of senior staff.With the squeeze on tertiary education budgets as we wait a funding review,dialling back the top pay rates will no doubt make a difference to thebottom line of our tertiary education institutions. And making a differenceto the bottom line would allow the same leaders to make the lives ofworkers and their families better.Will they take seriously, as the current Labour-led government has, thegrowing inequality between the top salaries in the tertiary educationsector and those on the lowest wages? At a number of tertiary institutionsthe TEU members have won flat rate increases which help to lift thesalaries of the lowest paid workers in the tertiary education sector, butmore work is needed to truly address the growing inequality in our sectorand our communities. Our vice chancellors and chief executives have it intheir power to follow the current government and implement gender pay principles and put in place a living wage for all working in the tertiary educationsector.Finally, will our vice chancellors and chief executives learn from theactions of the Minister of State Services, Chris Hipkins (who is also theMinister of Education) in ending performance pay for chief executives inthe public sector. The Minister noted: “International research shows thatindividualised performance pay is not an effective incentive for higherperformance for complex roles such as these.”In fact, performance pay is not effective for any workers in the creative,social, and human services. And like the PSA, TEU opposes performance pay at all levels of employment.One reason to ditch performance pay because it’s costly. Hipkins noted:“These moves will reduce the total potential forecast expenditure on chiefexecutive remuneration by up to $4 million by 2021/2022.” Savings certainlyare possible in the tertiary education sector if we stop wasting time andmoney on performance pay rounds.In tertiary education we see too much staff time put into performancemodels that just don’t deliver. For example, at the University of Auckland less than 10 per cent ofprofessional staff members get a performance-based salary increase in anygiven year; perhaps 30 per cent get a small one-off bonus in a given year.The combination of no salary progression, rare performance-based salaryincreases, and infrequent bonuses has led to wage stagnation—in NewZealand’s most expensive metropolitan area.Another reason to ditch performance pay pointed out by Hipkins: “…performance pay is counter-productive to achieving the collaborativeteam-based approach and collective leadership that is critical to achievingbetter outcomes for New Zealanders.” The core mission of our tertiaryeducation sector – teaching, learning, and research – requirescollaboration too, so it’s time to end performance pay.There are many good reasons why the chief executives and vice chancellorsof our tertiary institutions should step up to the standards being set bythe State Sector and the current Labour-led government. The only questionnow is who has the courage to lead the charge.Sandra GreyTe Tumu Whakarae – National PresidentNZ Tertiary Education Union