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Negotiations delayed, mediation for university sta

AUS WEB SITEDiscussions between university employers and unions have been delayed after the parties failed to agree on aspects of a bargaining protocol intended to govern conduct during formal employment agreement negotiations.

The negotiations, which were expected to begin in Wellington on Monday and Tuesday this week, have been delayed after university employers declined to commence bargaining without further progress on a bargaining protocol.

The areas of disagreement include attempts by some employer representatives to:
• limit the participation of staff representatives in the negotiations by restricting the numbers of staff to be released and the number of days they will be released for negotiations; and
• placing limits on which of the unions’ negotiating team members will have access to information required for bargaining.

Union advocate, Jeff Rowe, said it was pleasing that a number of issues had been agreed but that an impasse had been reached on the remaining issues. He said he was disappointed at the delay but was confident that outstanding issues would be dealt with through mediation.

Mediation will take place in Christchurch on Monday 13 October with formal negotiations expected to follow on Tuesday 14 October.

The unions are seeking new national collective employment agreements for academic and general (non-academic) staff, as part of an effort to ensure the long term sustainability of high-quality university education in New Zealand. The new agreements will replace 13 current collective agreements negotiated separately at each of the universities.

Central to negotiation is a claim for a salary increase of 10% per annum over the next three years for academic staff and 10% in 2004 for general staff plus increases in job evaluation alignments to the higher quartiles of the salary market.

The unions will also be seeking to increase staff involvement in strategic decision making within universities and measures to ensure protection against increasing workloads.

Ends

For further information or comment please contact;

For further information or comment please contact:
Jeff Rowe, Advocate, Association of University Staff (AUS)
Ph (04) 915 6692 (work) (04) 380 9212 (home) 021 375 670 (mobile)
email: jeff.rowe@aus.ac.nz

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