Following a long and protracted negotiation process TEU members at Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki Makaurau - University of Auckland have reached a settlement with their employer that will see more staff paid fairly over the term of the agreement.
“Unfair”, “confusing”, “encouraging nepotism”, and “unworkable” were just some of the words used by University of Auckland TEU members to describe the pay system previously put forward by the university in collective negotiations.
The system the employer had proposed favoured overly-complicated, punitive and subjective measures of performance over fair and transparent pay. It would have achieved its benefits by cutting the general revision (euphemism for across the board salary increase) to those who were deemed ‘over-paid’, and it would have further linked pay to subjective performance measures, where the bar for a pay increase can keep moving.
Importantly, the university’s previously proposed system would have set a dangerous precedent for performance pay in New Zealand’s tertiary education sector.
Through the collective efforts and determination of TEU members and advocates, University of Auckland branch members and many non-members will now receive a fair pay increase. TEU advocate Enzo Giordani says the settlement signals a major victory for TEU members and University of Auckland staff:
“We have been fighting performance pay at the University of Auckland for over 10 years. The system initially proposed by the employer saw very few actually rewarded for their hard work and dedication. While the new pay system isn’t perfect, under this system there will be a vast improvement in the number of staff seeing pay increases”.
Branch members are now working toward ensuring improved consultation with university staff and the wider community around reviews and restructuring following the closure of three specialist libraries, including the Music and Dance Library last year. Members will look to ensure policies will be put in place to improve consultation processes and encourage open dialogue and debate around future changes affecting staff, students and communities.
Giordani says members feel energised by both the settlement reached, and with staff and students demanding their voice is heard on issues affecting them, particularly as the University of Auckland welcomes incoming Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater.
“The agreement we have reached with the university and the welcoming of a new Vice-Chancellor provides us an opportunity to reset and ensure that staff at the University of Auckland are recognised for their experience, knowledge, expertise and commitment to advancing quality tertiary education”.