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National salary bargaining starts in universities

Combined University Unions

National salary bargaining starts in universities

Negotiations between university staff unions and vice-chancellors in the country’s eight universities will begin today in an attempt to reach agreement over the negotiation of new national multi-employer collective employment agreements for academic and general staff. The proposed agreements will replace more than fourteen collective agreements, currently negotiated at individual universities.

Combined unions’ spokesperson, Marty Braithwaite, said the multi-employer bargaining process provides a platform for the unions and vice-chancellors to address the salary problems in a strategic manner, and allowed for a collaborative approach to long-term workforce planning. A similar process in the public service has delivered a series of common terms and conditions that ensures a level playing field for employees and could easily be developed for the university sector.

Bargaining at individual institutions over the last fifteen years has resulted in unsatisfactory disparities both in salary levels and remuneration structures among universities, and has allowed New Zealand university salaries to slip well behind overseas counterparts.

“Despite working with government and the vice-chancellors over the last three years towards resolving salary problems, the progress has been insufficient to address international relativities and has done little towards resolving disparities within the New Zealand system,” Mr Braithwaite said.

The growth in university salaries in New Zealand remains consistently lower than the growth in GDP, while the opposite occurs in Australia, from which New Zealand universities face the greatest threat to recruitment and retention.

Unions participating in the bargaining process starting today include the Association of University Staff (AUS), the Association of Staff in Tertiary Education (ASTE), the Public Service Association (PSA), the Tertiary Institutes’ Allied Staff Association (TIASA), the New Zealand Building Trades’ Union, the Service Workers’ Union, the Amalgamated Workers’ Union and the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU).




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