Lockdown and the difficulties posed by COVID-19 have contributed to stress and added uncertainty for many working people in Aotearoa. However, there is positive news coming out of Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington (VUW), with staff in Campus Care and Campus Safety securing a minimum salary rate in line with the Living Wage. All they need to do now is vote on ratifying the pay rise.

The work of Campus Care and Campus Safety staff at VUW, and care-taker and security staff at our tertiary education institutions across Aotearoa is essential to the ongoing upkeep of the physical teaching and learning environment, and to the safety of both staff and students.

As ‘essential workers’, the work of many of these staff continued over lockdown, and at VUW, Campus Safety staff played a crucial role in ensuring the health and safety of staff and students as they returned to campus.

VUW cannot operate effectively without the work of Campus Care and Safety staff, and with the help of the TEU negotiating team, their essential role has now been recognised with a pay increase for those on the minimum salary rate of nearly $4,000 dollars, bringing their salary in line with the New Zealand Living Wage rate 2019-2020 of $21.15.

The TEU Victoria University of Wellington branch has also seen a considerable boost in membership since lockdown was announced in March. TEU membership at VUW has gone from around 890 before Alert Level 1 was announced, to 979 as of last week.

With nearly 100 new TEU members, TEU branch organiser Nicki Wilford says the increase is testament in part to the role TEU has played in keeping members informed during uncertain times,

“Many of our usual means of recruitment were made impossible over lockdown, so this increase in membership has really been about how we a have managed to keep up our communications and maintain our support for staff as a union”.

Wilford continued, “I think people are understanding how important it is to be a part of TEU during times like these. Amidst the uncertainty, TEU is a constant, and we continue to ensure the voice of staff is heard on any matter that has an impact on them”.