TEU members at Northland’s NorthTec have successfully ratified their collective agreement ending lengthy negotiations with the Chief Executive. TEU members have voted overwhelmingly to accept the proposed deal, however a broader spotlight must be shone on the future realities facing the hardworking staff at NorthTec.

In the background, NorthTec’s management have simultaneously been conducting reviews in Trades and International Education wreaking havoc, threatening jobs and the livelihoods of those working in classrooms, workshops, and jobsites teaching Northland learners.

TEU Organiser Jill Jones says this has left staff feeling “totally devalued and betrayed” in the way NorthTec management have gone about implementing reviews during a global pandemic and national recovery.

Jones notes that TEU members have hit out at the action by NorthTec stating; “The concept of whanaungatanga is of particular relevance to the current situation as it incorporates the ideas of ‘he waka eke noa iho’ and that when things get tough, we weather the storm collectively, rather than consider whether to toss a few whānau members overboard.”

“This is not a time to cut student capacity or undermine the delivery of education, as there will clearly be future increases in the number of students enrolling at polytechnics and wānanga” according to TEU. “The government has clearly signalled that staffing capacity needs to be retained and that re-deployment and re-training must be used when transitions need to occur”.

Regional development is also well and truly back on the table given the cash injection for vocational trades by the government. Serious questions need to be asked regarding why management are making decisions that do not align with their claim that “our communities will value NorthTec as a positive economic and social contributor”.

TEU members have raised serious concerns asking: “Do these values actually have any influence on the current decision-making process or does everything basically boil down to a numbers game and keeping the account books balanced...?”

Staff note that the current CE Wayne Jackson is resigning from the role and there is now a strong opportunity and obligation for the incoming interim CE to provide a different leadership and make decisions that support the success of Northland’s economy both now and in the future.