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Major salary boost sought for university staff

AUS WEB SITEMajor salary boost sought for university staff
University unions are to claim a salary increase of 10% per annum over the next three years for academic staff, in negotiations which are expected to get underway with university employers in September. A similar claim, to increase general (non-academic) staff salaries by 10% in 2004, followed by inflation adjusted increases for the following two years, will also be made. The claim for general staff will be supplemented by a proposal to increase job evaluation alignments to the higher quartiles of the salary market and for the investigation of a national university-based job evaluation scheme.

The claims have been endorsed by union members at a number of meetings over the last week in the seven universities to be covered by proposed new national collective employment agreements for academic and general staff.

The salary claim is based around gaining parity with the major Australian universities and addressing recruitment and retention problems forecasted to beset universities internationally by the end of the decade. It has been estimated that more than 230,000 new academic staff will be needed by 2010 in the 5 countries (including New Zealand) from which New Zealand universities recruit most of their academic staff.

Spokesperson for the unions, Association of University Staff (AUS) National President, Dr Bill Rosenberg, says analysis shows that New Zealand salaries lag significantly behind those in Australia. “On a straight conversion basis, New Zealand salaries are as much as 22% behind those in Australia, and even when using OECD Comparative Price Level data, it is apparent that purchasing power value is up to 13% behind. Higher superannuation and leave benefits give the Australians a further margin of at least 11% on their New Zealand counterparts,” he said.

Dr Rosenberg said that the Australian tertiary education unions have filed a 24% salary claim for the next three years, and the first settlements have provided salary increases there of between 15% and 18% over the three year period.

Dr Rosenberg said pushing general staff salaries into the higher quartiles of the salary market could result in sizeable increases for those staff, and said the importance of investigating a national job evaluation scheme, based around university values, has the potential to bring a consistent and equitable approach to salary setting for general staff across the whole university sector.

A claim will also be made to develop mechanisms at each university to assess and control workloads, and to establish a high-level committee of union and staff representatives at each university with the intention of both increasing staff involvement in strategic decision-making and in the democratic management of faculties, schools and departments.

Ends

For further information or comment please contact:
Dr Bill Rosenberg, National President, Association of University Staff (AUS)
Ph (03) 364 2801 (work) (03) 332 8525 (home) 021 680 475 (mobile)
Email bill.rosenberg@canterbury.ac.nz

Lloyd Woods, National President, Association of Staff in Tertiary Education (ASTE)
Ph (04) 801 5098 (work) 027 230 7336 (mobile)
Email Lloyd@aste.ac.nz

For background information please contact
Marty Braithwaite, Communications Officer, AUS
Ph (04) 915 2680 027 274 7795


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