Aotearoa is experiencing an increase in union membership even as job losses in key sectors have been felt across the country, with TEU seeing a boost in membership in recent months.

With staff across the tertiary education sector recognising the strength in unionism during uncertain times, as of September 2020 TEU has increased our membership by 259.

Lawrence O’Halloran, TEU organiser and member of the TEU recruitment team says there are a number of factors contributing to the increase in membership. These include changes to employment law which have made it easier for new staff to join, increased uncertainty resulting from Covid-19, and TEU campaigning and recruitment activities.

“Recruitment occurs at all levels, from informing staff as we go into bargaining, as we campaign against job cuts, and in support of the Living Wage and secure work, to more informal opportunities for members to show collegiality in informing non-member staff of the collective strength and benefits of being a TEU member”.

According to O’Halloran, the boost in membership is also due to increased uncertainty, and the continued support extended to staff by TEU throughout the pandemic and in response to potential job cuts. TEU Te Herenga Waka | Victoria University of Wellington branch in particular has seen a significant boost over lockdown, with membership now at 1,079, up from 896 at the end of 2019.

O’Halloran says TEU’s Secure Work campaign is another important means of recruitment, with those on casual, fixed-term and hourly agreements some of our union’s most committed members,

“People often join the union as a result of these arrangements, when their work becomes insecure, or when they are facing the prospect of losing their job, while others join because they care about their colleagues’ security. We can only fight against these things, and other attacks on working conditions, if we are strong enough as an organisation and a union, and we gain strength when people join the union and become active”.

In recognition of the difficulties facing staff on casual, fixed-term, and hourly paid agreements, TEU is again offering free membership for those in these jobs earning under $15,000 per annum.