University members unified and determined.

Hau Taki Haere | Tertiary Update Vol 26, No 12

Last week, Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union members across all eight of Aotearoa’s universities came together to overwhelmingly endorse claims for this year’s collective agreement negotiations.

For the first time in well over a decade, all major collective agreements in the university sector will be negotiated at the same time, and a unified and coordinated approach will be taken as a nationwide campaign to lift pay settlements continues to build.

With inflation running at a 30-year high, university staff, like all of Aotearoa’s workers, are really feeling the pinch.

Dani Pickering, a tutor at Te Herenga Waka | Victoria University says for low-paid staff such as tutors, early career teachers and researchers, administration staff and library assistants, among many others, the cost of living crisis is being felt particularly hard.

“Tutors at Victoria are on a separate collective agreement to most other TEU members, and last year we were the only group to not get any increase on our pay rates at all. This, coupled with the fact that we are all precariously employed on fixed-term agreements, makes any reduction in the real value of our pay especially worrying.”

“But it was really heartening to see the big turnouts at claims meetings here and at other branches last week. There is a resolve amongst the membership to stop putting up with low pay.”

According to Te Pou Ahurei Takirua – Ahumahi | Assistant National Secretary – Industrial, Irena Brörens, both the Minister and the Vice Chancellors need to step up and do better for university staff.

“The Student Achievement Component (SAC) funding, which comprises around 75% of income for universities and other providers, is currently only budgeted to increase by 1.2% from January 2022 and 2.75% from January 2023. This at a time when inflation is running at 6.9%.”

“It’s time for university employers and the government to properly recognise our members for the work they do and give them a real pay rise.”

Also in this update:

Other stories:

Curriculum change process rushed and disrespectful – TEU

79% average pay increase for kaiārahi i te reo in proposed pay equity settlement – NZEI

Lecturer joins 'great resignation' to secure better life for disabled son – Stuff

New vice-chancellor appointed at Victoria University of Wellington – Stuff