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Victoria University general staff to strike

Victoria University general staff to strike

General (non-academic) staff at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) will strike on Monday 31 May in support of a claim to increase salaries by 4%. Last week they rejected a salary offer of 2.2% and voted, at a series of meetings, to take industrial and protest action in support of the 4% claim.

Association of University Staff (AUS) general staff spokesperson Tony Quinn said that the current salary offer from VUW was the lowest offer made to any group of university staff in New Zealand in the current wage round, and was well below the New Zealand national average wage and salary increase of 2.5%.

Mr Quinn said that VUW posted an official profit of $7.6 million dollars last year, and looked to be heading for a record financial surplus this year with higher than budgeted enrolments. "The money is there, but any goodwill to share the profit with the staff that helped create it is sadly lacking," he said.

"General staff are insulted by their salary offer from VUW management," said Mr Quinn. "They are being offered significantly less than their academic counterparts, and markedly less than what is being offered at other universities."

Academic staff at VUW have accepted a 4% salary increase for 2004, and most other universities (excepting Otago) have settled new agreements which provide salary increases of between 3% and 4%.

"General staff make up half the workforce at the university, and come from a wide variety of specialist trades and professions," said Mr Quinn. "The core university function of teaching and research is a team effort towards which general staff make an essential and valuable contribution. In making a differential pay offer between general and academic staff, the University deliberately fails to appreciate and reward general staff for their contribution to the academic success of the institution. It also divides one group of staff from the other"

Mr Quinn said that without general staff the university simply could not operate. "They are the public face of the university, and are the main point of contact with students in their day-to-day campus life. They ensure the smooth running of the entire University and should be treated in a manner which reflects that," he said.

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