University Unions Foreshadow 10 Days Strike Action
Association of University Staff
Association of Staff in Tertiary Education
Public Service Association
Tertiary Institutions Allied Staff Association
Attn Education/Industrial Reporter 4 March 2004
University unions foreshadow ten days strike action
University staff across New Zealand have indicated they will take up to ten days strike action if satisfactory national collective employment agreements are not agreed between universities and their unions.
At a series of stopwork meetings, held across the country over the last fortnight, union members comprehensively rejected current pay offers and voted to begin a ten day programme of protest activities from 15 March. They have foreshadowed 5 days of strike action in April and a further 5 days strike action in June if negotiations are not concluded in a satisfactory manner.
The university unions are seeking new national collective employment agreements, to replace more than 13 current enterprise (site) agreements, for academic and general staff and have sought pay rises of up to ten percent per annum over the next three years in an effort to restore international and domestic pay relativities.
University employers have made pay offers between 2% and 2.8% and have all refused to agree to national employment agreements.
Association of University Staff (AUS) General Secretary Helen Kelly, speaking on behalf of the combined unions, said that staff had clearly determined that it was time university employers and the Government addressed the pay and funding issues which have beset the sector for over a decade. "More than 95% of those at the meetings supported protest action with many wanting to commence strike action immediately," she said. "The meetings were particularly well attended and there was a strong resolve to make real progress this year."
University staff will begin ten days of protest action from 15 March. "If there is no resolution following that protest action, staff will be balloted on the recommendation for the initial round of strike action scheduled for April," said Ms Kelly The universities affected are Auckland, Waikato, Massey, Victoria, Canterbury, Lincoln and Otago.