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Lecturers Plan Campaign for 3.25% Salary Increase

Lecturers at the Wellington College of Education are planning a campaign of escalating action to support their claim for a 3.25% salary increase.

Association of Staff in Tertiary Education president Jill Ovens says the lecturers voted yesterday to begin the industrial action from midday Friday (October 25) unless Dugald Scott, the Principal, comes up with a “revised and improved offer” by then.

The campaign will kick off with a ban on all College meetings, except union meetings.
Lecturers will continue to visit those students who are currently in schools, but no reports will be handed in for processing.

“The union has been in negotiations since July, but Scott isn’t willing to go beyond 2.5%.
“He knows this is not enough to attract fully qualified and experienced teachers to the College because he wants to be able to offer new lecturers more than our existing staff on the lecturer scale.

“As far as our members are concerned, that just shows how little respect he has for his existing staff.”

Ms Ovens says the recent PPTA settlement, which flows on to primary teachers, means that the College will have difficulty attracting classroom teachers because the College’s proposed salary increase is considerably lower.

Recent settlements in the tertiary education sector (at Massey University and Otago University) have been 3.5% to 4%, respectively. ASTE members at Christchurch College of Education have been offered 5.7% over two years.

In addition, the Wellington College of Education has accepted a 4.5% increase in per student funding from the Government in exchange for fees stabilisation.

Ms Ovens says students attending yesterday’s meeting expressed their support for the lecturers’ claim.

“Students know that ASTE has consistently supported fees stabilisation and they don’t want to see that being used as an excuse to hold down staff salaries,” she says.

The student leaders attending yesterday’s meeting, both first years, say that if their lecturers are not being valued by the College, that would inevitably affect students’ College experience.

Ms Ovens says the students are correct in pointing to morale as an issue.
“Our members are being asked to participate in a ‘workload manageability’ project to gain more ‘efficiencies’.

“The lecturers are being told that their excessive workloads are their own fault – they are not ‘efficient enough’.

“We have said we will participate in the project, but we don’t accept that heavy workloads are created by our poor work practices.

“The workload manageability team must look at the overall quantum of work and how it is measured.”

Ms Ovens says lecturers are also concerned that the Government’s new performance-based research fund (PBRF) and subsequent withdrawal of the research component of per student funding on degree programmes may mean there is less commitment by the College to research-based teaching.

“What we don’t want to see is any reduction in the amount of research time, which is currently available to all our members. This is a professional issue,” she says.
The College is saying that only those who meet the PBRF guidelines will get research time.

Ms Ovens says no one knows what those guidelines will be, and so it is far too early to make commitments in the Collective Agreement. Furthermore, it is our view that all degree teaching should be underpinned by research.

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