University heads in the sand over staff pay.

Hau Taki Haere | Tertiary Update Vol 26, No 16

Te Pōkai Tara | Universities New Zealand have responded to BERL data that shows Aotearoa’s university staff have been undervalued by their employers over the past twelve years.

UNZ chief executive Chris Whelan says "Over the 2008-2020 period covered by the BERL report the expenditure on personnel across the New Zealand university sector went up by 49% … Over the same period median weekly earnings for all wage and salary earners in New Zealand went up by 50%."

But as Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union’s Te Pou Ahurei | National Secretary Sandra Grey points out, “Chris Whelan is comparing apples with oranges. He implies that increased personnel expenditure all goes into pay increases, but it includes growth in the number of staff employed in the sector.”

“BERL’s data shows an almost 20% increase in staff headcount between 2008 and 2020, therefore his comments only serve to reinforce our point. University salaries are not keeping up.”

“Instead of trying to explain away solid data, Universities New Zealand would be better advised to revisit our offer to work with them to secure more funding from the government. University staff will not be happy with their employers both denying the problem exists and refusing to work with TEU on constructive ways forward.”

Also in this update:

Other stories:

Staff pay negotiations begin at seven universities – RNZ

Apology to Dr Paterson after complaint – AUT

BERL data shows it’s past time for university staff to get a real pay rise – TEU

The Minister of Education has confirmed tertiary fee regulation settings for 2023 – MoE