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AUS Tertiary Update Vol.3 No.34

The Combined Unions team negotiating a new agreement for staff at Massey has agreed to put to a ratification ballot one of the options for settlement tabled by the university management. The proposal includes the establishment of a Fund to assist employees who are made redundant during restructuring at Massy. The fund will be jointly administered by a committee consisting of equal representation from the union and the employer. The salary has been increased from 1.25% to 1.7%. The negotiating team is recommending ratification on the basis that they believe nothing further can be achieved at the negotiating table. The matter is now over to the union membership who have the final say on whether or not the settlement should be accepted. The alternative to ratification is to enter into a further and sustained industrial campaign in the hope that that may lead to a better offer.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:
1. Government assurances on funding
2. AUS seeks meetings on Singapore Free Trade
3. It's e-voting at AUT
4. Tribute to departing NZEI national secretary
5. Canadian victory in controversy
5. Pay rise for British Medical Research Council staff

The Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education), Steve Maharey says the government is committed to getting all tertiary institutions back on a strong footing, and says new funding arrangements can be expected from the next budget. The Minister was speaking as students and staff from Victoria University's School of Earth Sciences staged a protest at Parliament over proposed staffing and subject cuts, especially in the university's high-profile Geology department. Mr Maharey said that in meetings he had held with officials from Victoria he had emphasised the government's vision for tertiary education, and the strong future Victoria has within this framework. He believed the university administration had the long-term academic and financial interests of the institution at heart but he warned tertiary institutions to be cautious about programme cuts: "I would expect all tertiary providers to think very carefully about shedding programmes which make them distinctive".

The Executive Director of AUS, Rob Crozier is seeking an urgent meeting with the Minister of Research, Science and Technology, Pete Hodgson to discuss the inclusion of research in the proposed Free Trade Agreement with Singapore. As the AUS pointed out in its submissions to parliament's Defence, Foreign Affairs and Trade Select Committee ("Tertiary Update" Vol. 3 No.33, 12 October 2000) the union is concerned that this could mean researchers in Singapore have access to New Zealand public research funds. In a letter to the Minister, Mr Crozier also points out that inquiries to date by AUS indicate that the scientific community was not consulted about including research within the agreement.

Students at Auckland's University of Technology (AUT) are using the internet to vote in elections for the president of the student's association in what is a first for New Zealand. Up to 15,000 students are eligible to vote and posters on campus notice boards have been urging students to "click to tick" during voting this week. The election is being conducted by "", -- a global internet election company launched in New Zealand in June this year. Its Managing Director, Stephen Kilpatrick says that by making voting easier and more accessible, "" believes voter participation can be improved. He hopes other organisations, such as School Boards of Trustees and local councils might follow the trailblazing AUT students' lead and turn to the internet for their polls.

"Tertiary Update" would like to pay tribute to the work of Joanna Beresford who is to stand down from her position as National Secretary of the New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa (NZIE) early next year. Joanna has had a long connection with the public sector union movement, and AUS has had the opportunity to work with her since the early 1980s when she was a PSA advocate for public service librarians. Announcing her departure next February, the NZEI national president, Darrell Ward paid tribute to Joanna's "leadership, energy and commitment over a decade of unprecedented educational and industrial change". AUS would like to second that!


Further to our “Tertiary Update” story of 31 August (Vol.3 No.27), it's been announced that Canadian theses titles will be removed from the United States-owned web site until further notice. Canadian scholars were up in arms when they discovered that the theses they supplied to the National Library of Canada were ending up for sale on the website for US$30 to US$60 a paper. Library officials said they were unaware Canadian titles were being sold on the site, but after further investigation discovered that a contractor hired to process, catalogue and make available academic material had in turn subcontracted the use of these titles to Contentville. Following consultations between the various parties it was agreed to remove the material from the site as an interim measure. The National Library will now hold talks with the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) and other groups to find a permanent solution to the situation.

In Britain, the Medical Research Council (MRC) is introducing a special scientific recruitment and retention allowance following concerns about poor morale, and falling staff levels in the organisation. The decision marks a success for members of the Association of University Teachers (AUT) working at the Council who lobbied strenuously for something to be done. The new allowance is worth 3% of salary this year, rising to 6% next year and 9% the year after. This will be paid on top of the annual pay awards. Problems with the recruitment and retention of scientists in the public sector in Britain are not confined to the MRC. A recent survey by the organisation, Save British Science has revealed unfilled science vacancies in over half the country's universities.

AUS Tertiary Update is produced weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the union and others. Back issues are archived on the AUS website:

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