AUS Tertiary Update Vol. 3 No. 13, 26 May 2000
'REPOSITIONING' IS NO POSITION
Staff at Massey University yesterday found out whether they still had a job, had to reapply for a job, or no longer had a job.
Of the 116 redundancies announced, 104 were from the Palmerston North campus.
"This is a horrible process and it saddens us that loyal, and in some cases, very long-serving staff, have received these letters," said Association of University Staff (AUS) Massey Branch President, Associate Professor Tony Lewis.
Despite the fact that the University is not currently in deficit, the management says it needs to shed $11 million from its expenditure.
"Staff morale took a tumble during last year's restructuring, and now anxiety about the direction in which Massey University is headed is at a crisis level," said Professor Lewis.
The AUS are meeting with all campus unions on June 7 to formalise the unions' response to the review.
The National President of the Association of University Staff, Neville Blampied, has joined colleagues at Massey in condemning the untimely action and has urged the University to be patient on the 'repositioning and cost-saving exercise' until TEAC has reported.
Tertiary Update this week:
1. Employment Relations Bill Submission
2. Diversity with Excellence
3. Auckland and Murdoch's Virtual University
4. Legislation to Limit Universities Introduced
5. Debate Between ACENZ, Massey and ACE Misses Point
EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS BILL
Three main points were presented to the select committee considering the Employment Relations Bill yesterday by AUS representatives. They were:
* supporting the principle of collectivity, but that the Bill be amended to ensure that members who remain on individual contracts can continue to be union members;
* we endorsed voluntary union membership but asked that the '30 day rule' be changed to prevent freeloading. This would involve new employees joining both the collective and the union for a 30-day free trial;
* amending the expiry of collective contracts at Massey and Waikato on 31 July 2000 so they can continue as collective agreements from 1 August.
The submission is available on the AUS website.
Associate Minister of Tertiary Education, Steve Maharey, promised a return to the intention of the 'Learning for Life' reforms in relation to the degree programmes offered by polytechnics. He told a Royal Society gathering earlier this week that market pressures over the past decade had led to "...increasing homogeneity in order to attract enrolment-driven dollars".
Acknowledging that this did not mean taking degree programmes away from polytechnics totally, he said it was envisaged in 1989 that degree programmes would be "...a small percentage only of the total courses offered by polytechnics".
Mr Maharey said that the Government was committed to supporting those degree programmes with an adequate research underpinning and that regulatory requirements for degrees would be complemented by the way that funding was allocated.
AUCKLAND AND MURDOCH'S VIRTUAL UNIVERSITY
Auckland Vice-Chancellor, John Hood, gave AUS President Neville Blampied, and Executive Director Rob Crozier an assurance this week that the new virtual university that Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp is proposing to establish in association with Universitas 21 is only at the memorandum of understanding stage.
As far as Auckland University's participation was concerned, further developments would be referred to Senate for discussion in the normal way.
Staff at Auckland however, have serious reservations about the amount of effective input they would have, and point to the appalling track record of Rupert Murdoch in suppressing freedom of speech and critical journalism. Reservations about the use of web-based delivery to provide a quality university-level education have also been expressed.
LEGISLATION TO LIMIT UNIVERSITIES
The Government introduced legislation to cap the number of universities in New Zealand last night, but needed the support of New Zealand First after the Green Party abstained.
The Education (Limiting Number of Universities) Amendment Bill limits the number of universities to eight until the new Tertiary Education Advisory Commission has developed a strategy for the tertiary sector.
Auckland-based UNITEC, who had applied under the previous Government to become a university, said it was considering legal action as a result of the legislation.
The select committee considering the Bill will report back at the end of July.
ACENZ, MASSEY AND ACE MISSES THE POINT
The debate between the Association of Colleges of Education, Massey University and the Auckland College of Education (ACE) about the merger of ACE with Massey University misses the point, says the union representing teacher educators.
ASTE National Executive Colleges/Universities representative, Dr Joce Jesson says the issue is not about whether teacher education happens in a college or a university, but is about the quality of it.
"We have been raising concerns about the proliferation of teacher education courses for several years, and while that is part of it, our concern is mainly about the quality of those courses."
Dr Jesson says ASTE supports the concept of a Teaching Council, a self- regulatory body for the teaching profession, controlling entry to the profession, monitoring teacher education and ongoing education, as well as dealing with concerns about discipline and competency.
Dr Jesson says the ACE merger with Massey University should not be affected by the introduction of legislation limiting the number of universities while the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission deliberates.
* MONASH AGREEMENT CLOSE
After months of difficult negotiations, and an industrial campaign including exam bans and strike action, the NTEU has now reached an in-principle agreement with Monash University on several issues.
Nearly 2000 NTEU members will receive salary increases from March 2000 to March 2003. They represent a cumulative increase of 13.1%. Other main features of the Monash outcome include maintenance of existing superannuation; measures to deal with excessive workload; a commitment to maintain the size of the workforce; and a roll-over of all current and relevant award conditions.
AUS Tertiary Update is produced weekly on Fridays and distributed freely to members of the union and others. Back issues are archived on the AUS website: