University staff hope for better things
The Association of University Staff (AUS) has today welcomed the introduction of the Employment Relations Bill, expressing the hope that the new legislation might provide an environment in which university salaries can become internationally competitive.
AUS Executive Director, Rob Crozier recalled today that it was Helen Clark as Minister of Labour who removed university academic staff from the jurisdiction of the Higher Salaries Commission in 1987, ironically so that academic staff could bargain for better salaries.
“Since that time, the benchmark senior lecturer salary has declined from parity with a backbench Member of Parliament to about 85% of an MP’s salary today (less, if MPs’ allowances are taken into account,” he said.
Neville Blampied, AUS President, said in Christchurch today that it was vital that the Government, as principal funder of universities, recognised that it is the intellectual capital represented by the staff which is of paramount importance to a knowledge society.
“If Government wants New Zealand to be a knowledge-based society, then it must fund the universities to pay salaries that will attract the world’s best to New Zealand.”
Neville Blampied said that the entire university world was faced with a staff recruitment crisis in the next decade as ‘baby boomers’ retired, and New Zealand would be left behind if it could not compete for staff.
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