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Academics at Six Polytechnics Take Action

Association of Staff in Tertiary Education
ASTE Te Hau Takitini o Aotearoa

Academics at Six Polytechnics Take Action

Close to eight hundred members of the Association of Staff in Tertiary Education (ASTE) will walk off the job this Wednesday with the promise of more to come if polytechnic employers don’t improve their pay offer currently sitting at zero% for one of the institutions involved and moderate their workload claim clawbacks. National President Lloyd Woods said today “Members have had enough. Not only is the pay offer ranging from zero to 2.5% across the six institutions involved insulting, but these employers are also trying to significantly reduce members’ conditions of employment”. He added that the ASTE claim reflects the salary offers agreed elsewhere in the country and involves no claims of any great effect on the institutions' costs. “We have been perfectly reasonable in our claims and our approach to these negotiations. “The employers have not!”

“Sixteen days of negotiations and two days of mediation have failed to resolve the differences between the two parties.” he said. “Members are left with no other option but to take strike action”. Frustrated academics at UNITEC, Waikato Institute of Technology, Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki, Northland Polytechnic, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and the Whitireia Community Polytechnic will begin the strike this Wednesday.

“We will be doing our best not to adversely affect students, but at the end of the day, our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions,” Lloyd Woods said. “Our ability to deliver the best quality education to students is dependent on our working environment. We would prefer not to be taking this step and invite the employers to reconsider their position. However we are not going to accept a situation where some of our members would receive a nil pay rise and all would see an erosion of their conditions. This is why we are taking this serious step,” he said.

Lloyd Woods also said, “Strike action is not the only action available to union members. At strike meetings on Wednesday, members will be considering further action including working within the terms of their existing collective agreements. Our institutions currently benefit enormously from the work members do that is in excess of what their collectives require. Members will be reflecting on this.”

END

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