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University staff claim $5,000 salary boost

Combined University Unions

Media Release


Attn Education/Industrial Reporter                                                  3 July 2008


University staff claim $5,000 salary boost

University staff will open employment agreement negotiations next week with a claim for a $5,000 increase to all salary rates. The flat rate, rather than a percentage increase claim, is intended to give a proportionally greater increase to lower-paid university staff, including most of the general staff (or non-academic) classifications.

The salary claim is in addition to $15 million of funding provided by the government to be allocated on the basis of a 1.53% increase for academic staff and 0.51% increase for general staff, effective from 1 July.

Eight unions will be represented in the negotiations as well as the country’s eight university vice-chancellors.

The combined unions’ lead advocate, Marty Braithwaite, said that, while much had been documented over the last few years about the low state of academic salaries, general staff salaries also need a significant boost. “Department of Labour figures show that technicians and associated professionals, who comprise a significant proportion of university general staff, are on its ‘severe shortages’ list, as are most trades groups,” he said. “Similarly, between 2006 and 2007, the Department of Labour reported that the shortage rate for skilled clerical and administrative staff, another group highly represented in universities, became much worse.”

Mr Braithwaite added that, with skill shortages expected to remain at high levels in the medium-term and with significant increases in the cost of living, there will continue be upward pressure on salaries in the foreseeable future.

The unions are also seeking two, new national multi-employer collective employment agreements to replace the more than fourteen collective agreements currently negotiated at individual universities. “Such agreements will provide a platform for the unions and vice-chancellors to address national salary problems in the university sector in a strategic manner, and allow for a common approach to long-term workforce planning,” Mr Braithwaite said.







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