Workloads Focus.

By Julie Douglas (Industrial and Professional, Vice-President)

Over the course of the last few years, and 2021 particularly, workloads have been identified repeatedly as an issue for our members. Without doubt the ongoing impact of COVID-19 has seen workloads increase for many with often little acknowledgement from employers.

I remember so clearly the argument used in strike action taken a few years ago – staff working conditions are student’s learning conditions. That point must not be lost in the current focus on budget constraints. What is the point of keeping our tertiary institutions going if our ability to deliver high quality educational experiences is lost? That experience is from the student’s enrolment experience through to learning in the classroom and finally graduating with a qualification which places them in a better situation and as better people from when they started.

I believe the point of education in our sector is to create the sort of people we want in our society – well educated in technical and practical skills for sure, but also individuals who respect others and the environment by having an understanding of the complexity of our world including the interconnectedness of privilege, social justice, and the world of work.

How can we as workers in this sector ensure delivering the time and care needed to see and treat all of our students and colleagues in a way which develops this thinking? Too many other financial and competitive pressures for instance often push us into working ways which aren’t good for the individual or those around us.

2022 is the year when TEU is focussing on workload issues. It is a complex issue, and each institution has various different approaches to work structures. However, if we as a union don’t push back on the degradation of working conditions of our members, we face a diminished tertiary sector for Aotearoa New Zealand. This is our work this year! The Industrial and Professional Committee are in full support of this campaign and this work forms part of the union’s Industrial Strategy.