Students Call For National Wage Bargaining
Saturday, 27 October 2001
Students at Victoria University of Wellington are calling on the Government to introduce national wage bargaining for tertiary staff following recent announcements that industrial action could be imminent after negotiations between staff unions and university management broke down recently.
President of the Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association Chris Hipkins said that as the level of funding available to universities is determined by government, thus restricting the amount of money available for staff salary increases, the government should also shoulder the responsibility for wage bargaining.
"We have welcomed the recent moves by the Government to take the responsibility for setting student fees away from individual institutions through the fee freeze deal, but we also realise that this has meant little additional money has been made available to universities to increase staff salaries," Mr. Hipkins said.
"We believe that the responsibility for ensuring that our staff are adequately renumerated and rewarded lies with the Government, not the individual institutions, and we call on the Government to respond accordingly," Mr. Hipkins said.
"We are naturally very concerned about talk of industrial action by staff right in the middle of the end of year examination period, but we also support the claims they are putting forward. Our staff salaries pale in comparison to those offered overseas, and if we want to attract and retain the highest quality academics, we'll have to pay them accordingly," Mr. Hipkins said.
"We also realise that money is not the only issue in these negotiations, and we are also very supportive of staff endeavours to protect academic freedom and ensure that the University is managed in an open, democratic and transparent manner," Mr. Hipkins concluded.
Chris Hipkins - President
Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association (Inc.)
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