TEU Te Herenga Waka | Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) branch is celebrating a significant increase in union membership at the institution.

In June, Hau Taki Haere | Tertiary Update reported on a considerable boost in TEU membership over the nationwide lockdown, with membership at VUW up from 890 before Alert Level 1, to 979 at the beginning of June. That number has since grown to 1,079 as of October 20.

In August, TEU members, staff and students at VUW united to stop the university’s controversial Whiria Project, but threats to jobs and security still loom.

Amidst the uncertainty posed by Covid, proposed restructuring and the threat of job cuts, TEU has maintained its strong presence in the VUW community, both online and on campus. For TEU branch organiser Nicki Wilford, the fantastic work by the TEU branch executive in encouraging staff to join TEU, and the continued support provided to staff by TEU throughout 2020 have been major factors in the increase in union membership at VUW,

“Throughout lockdown and as staff returned to campus we continued our communications, ensuring they were clear and easy to follow at a time when stress and anxiety was really high. This has been greatly appreciated and what we are hearing is that members are telling their colleagues how active the union has been, and how well supported they have been by TEU. That has been combined with a lot of activity from the branch executive actually asking colleagues if they would like to join. As a result we are seeing an increase in new members”.

According to Wilford, the Whiria Project only led to further stress, anxiety, and anger at a time when staff needed support and security, and again, TEU was able to provide support and leadership,

“TEU organised in support of staff and students, and worked together with PGSA and VUWSA to push-back against restructuring. In a first for TEU, our Zoom hui to discuss the proposal quickly reached the 300 person limit - which goes to show the level of engagement - and again, we saw an increase in TEU membership over this period as staff are seeing the power of collective action. There’s never been a better time to join TEU”.