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Employment talks not ‘Tops’ at TOPNZ

12 November 2004

Employment talks not ‘Tops’ at TOPNZ

Lecturers at The Open Polytechnic are “dismayed” and “disgusted” at the latest and reportedly final offer made by the CEO in collective agreement negotiations. As a consequence an industrial action ballot was called for at a stop-work meeting on Tuesday.

“It has been a more difficult year than ever for our members teaching at TOPNZ and this basically gives them a kick in the teeth for their efforts” Lloyd Woods the National President of ASTE said today.

He added “With the public ridicule of their institution and its Lifeworks programme, millions of dollars wasted on a never-completed major IT project, and particularly the impact of recent staff losses brought about by these costly failures it is easy to understand why staff are angry and morale is dropping markedly. To be offered a once only payment with no real salary increase is nothing short of insulting”

The institution has offered one-off cash payment equal to 2.5% of the individuals salary rate without any change to actual salary while at the same time looking for ‘efficiencies’ elsewhere. It is very hard to believe that The Open Polytechnic could not afford the additional annual cost of about $180,000 if the offer of 2.5% was added to the permanent wage rates for the 130 academic staff involved."

Mr Woods said “ our members have been called on in the past to prop up the institution by taking lower salaries than elsewhere in the sector. The TOPNZ salary rate on the basic scale is already thousands of dollars behind the other Wellington institutions and there comes a point when the staff can not take any further losses in order to save the institution from its mistakes. If this is the final offer from the employer then sadly but surely we will have members having to take industrial action yet again at the Open Polytechnic”


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