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Increasing pressure to settle at Massey

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Massey management is under increasing pressure from staff and students to settle the current pay dispute at Massey. Massey management has come under pressure since the combined union's decision last week to undertake lawful industrial action by withholding grades from the administration.

"Since we have taken this decision there has been a lot of discussion among union members about the importance of not disadvantaging individual students as part of the action. This dialogue has been positive and our official exemptions process is now up and running. At present, for most students, the withholding of grades represents an inconvenience – nothing more. We urge student leaders to see the important distinction between real long term 'disadvantage' and a short term 'inconvenience' and to keep talking with us" said Combined Union Spokesperson Peter Blakey.

"The reaction from particular members of Massey Senior Management has been less than constructive and it’s a shame that they have not been able to appreciate just how flexible union members are willing to be with this low-level action. That type of response just serves to strengthen the resolve of our members. We would encourage management to sit down with Union representatives to go through the ins and outs of this lawful action – it is after all the responsibility of management to come up with contingency plans for students. We suggest the easiest way to achieve this is to provide us with a fair and decent wage offer for this year," said Combined Union Spokesperson Jan McPherson.

"The issues facing staff at Massey and other Universities are serious! We don't believe that students, or the quality of the teaching and research we can provide, will be well served in the future by staff continuing to accept less than inflation increases which are, in reality, pay cuts! We don't believe that our students will be served well by management which refuses to attempt to address the deterioration of working conditions at Massey and the increasingly heavy workloads of staff. Finally, we don't believe that our students will want to see the hours of work provision extended so that our general staff can be required to work earlier, later, longer and on the weekend! Unfortunately, this is the alternative to our industrial action and it isn't an alternative that we are willing to accept," said Jan McPherson.

"We agree with the students that it is management that needs to do more to settle the dispute, however we also believe it is the University Council's responsibility to show a long-term commitment to staff and some evidence of strategic financial planning which prioritises issues important to staff. And of course the government needs to make this process easier by funding universities adequately! We therefore urge the student representatives who are members of University Council to take this issue up at that level," said Peter Blakey.

For further comment please contact Peter Blakey w 356 9099 extn 2682 or cellphone 021 660 930

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