Strong support for a real pay rise.

Last week’s university strikes received widespread unconditional support from students, politicians, and the wider labour movement along with unprecedented coverage across media and social media.

New Zealand Union of Student Associations president Andrew Lessells​ said all student associations were in full support of the strike, and made the important point that students are often teachers.

“Researchers, tutors, demonstrators – people in precarious positions are often students. We don’t talk enough about it. If you’re in undergrad, you’re often being taught by post-graduate students.”

Meanwhile Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association said “We know strike action may affect students and their learning and teaching. However, it’s not staff who negatively impact student learning conditions, but a lack of university prioritisation and investment in staff pay and conditions. We must come together in solidarity to push university leadership and management to do better. Staff conditions are student learning conditions.”

“This is about looking after people and our staff and student community.”

Rōpū Kākāriki o Aotearoa | The Green Party also issued a statement in support of the strikes. Spokesperson for workplace relations and safety Jan Logie said “The Green Party stands with university staff striking across the country today. We urge the Minister to ensure pay that keeps pace with the rising cost of putting food on the table, paying the rent, and keeping the house warm.”

“We are also calling on Minister Hipkins to bring union, government officials, and sector leaders together to discuss a way forward.”

“Minister Hipkins can provide a way through by bringing everyone to the table so we can build a truly world-class university sector that not only rewards staff for the contribution they make to our communities, but guarantees students the income support they need to learn.”

Matt McGowan, General Secretary of Australia’s National Tertiary Education Union sent a strong message of solidarity last week as well. He said “it is regrettable that union members have to resort to industrial action to achieve real pay rises that do not result in members losing the real value of their pay. In a difficult inflationary environment, employers should be rewarding staff for the efforts in keeping the sector viable through the COVID period.”

“But in the face of indifference to the financial distress of staff, union members must stand together to demand a fair deal from the employers. TEU is to be congratulated on taking unprecedented action in unprecedented times. Your courage and determination are an example to us all.”

“NTEU in Australia stands with you and we send our solidarity across the ditch now and always.”