On Wednesday 20 November, Northtec teaching staff will beholding a ‘bake sale’ to highlight the underfunding which has dogged the polytechnics of New Zealand.

The teaching staff are members of Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union and are joining colleagues from around Aotearoa to seek government funding to stabilise the network of vocational education provision.

TEU Organiser Jill Jones says the ‘bake sale’ protest is needed as we’ve seen several years of courses being cut, and low wage offers to staff who work really hard to ensure learners have access to quality courses.

“Northland deserves a strong polytechnic to contribute to the social and economic well-being of the community, but currently the funding model means learning opportunities are under a cloud.”

Branch co-president Sharlene Nelson is sad that they have to take to the streets again in order to push for the Finance Minister to put some cash into the system.

“We’d rather be working with our learners and their families, getting them through exams and final assessments, helping them plan for next year. But if we don’t stand up now there’ll be more staff leaving and more courses being cut.”

Branch co-president Bill Roger says we want to work with our community to make sure there is decent funding for the polytechnics.  

“Quality nursing, hospitality, carpentry, IT, and engineering courses need quality teaching staff. It’s time the Minister of Finance backed the vision for a strong vocational system by putting in the pūtea.”

The Tertiary Education Union members have requested an urgent meeting with Finance Minister, Grant Robertson. The union is asking the government to commit less than 2% of the $7 billion surplus to stabilise the polytechnics and keep opportunities alive in communities like Whangarei, Kaitaia, and Kerikeri.

As was advised last week, academic staff are currently engaged in a strike action ballot over their collective negotiations. The teaching staff want a 3% pay rise to recognise the hard work they put in across Northland. The employer is offering $700.

 

What: A ‘bake sale’to stablise the polytechnics

Where: Corner of Raumanga Valley Road and Otaika Road

When:12 noon, 20 November 2019