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Academics Vote on Industrial Action

Academics Vote on Industrial Action

Academics at six polytechnics have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action to achieve an acceptable settlement in their negotiations for a multi-employer collective agreement in the tertiary education sector. The strike ballot, which closed last night, gave the Association of Staff in Tertiary Education (ASTE) an overwhelming mandate to call strike action in protest at the failure of negotiations.

ASTE National President Lloyd Woods said that polytechnic staff felt they had no other choice but to take this decision after 16 days of negotiation resulted in pay offers ranging from zero to 2.5%, contingent on concessions on a number of existing conditions. He said the employers had not made any commitment to backdating any eventual pay settlements, even though a number of the employment agreements had expired as long ago as March.

Mr. Woods said that some of the employers wanted to increase staff workloads by increasing the number of teaching days on which staff could be required to teach during the year. He described this as "completely unacceptable".

ASTE has agreed to a request from the employers to go into mediation over these matters on Friday in an attempt to resolve the impasse. "We will enter mediation in a genuine attempt to achieve a settlement, but if agreement is not reached at mediation we have a very clear mandate from our members to proceed with strike action," said Mr. Woods.

Staff at UNITEC, Waikato Institute of Technology, Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki, Northland Polytechnic, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and the Whitireia Community Polytechnic will be affected.

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