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Staff, students march on Parliament

Staff at Victoria University will be joining with students in a protest march to Parliament this Tuesday lunchtime, 17 May, over the need for more government funding for universities.

The march will leave the quad at Victoria University in Kelburn at 12.30pm on Tuesday, and travel down the Terrace to Parliament. The Minister for Tertiary Education, Hon Trevor Mallard, will receive a presentation from the combined group at a little after 1.00pm.

The staff are members of the Association of University Staff (AUS) which is claiming a 10% increase in salaries for all staff this year and a further 10% increase in the subsequent two years for academic staff, increases they say are necessary if university salaries are to maintain any relativity at all to those paid to similarly qualified staff in New Zealand and overseas.

“This is the minimum we need for salaries – but universities need increased funding from government in order to deliver such an increase,” said AUS Victoria University Branch President, Dr David Weatherburn. “In fact, under-funding of universities has reached a crisis point”.

Dr Weatherburn said that Victoria is facing a fresh round of university budget cuts, which means the problems caused by low salaries are now being compounded by further constraints on resources, including the hiring of new staff. “With demand growing internationally for qualified staff, and big increases in academic salaries continuing to flow through in Australia, we will steadily become unable to deliver the standard of university education that New Zealanders want and need, both as individuals and to build a knowledge-based economy,” he said.

“Salaries for teachers in New Zealand’s primary and secondary schools are now higher than many lecturers’ salaries, while the demands for research outputs and supervision from university staff continue to grow,” said Dr Weatherburn. “Government funds must be re-invested in the engine room of the knowledge-based economy.”

For further comment or details please contact:
Dr David Weatherburn
AUS Victoria Branch President
Phone (04) 463 5965

Michael Gilchrist
AUS Victoria Branch Organiser
Phone (04) 463 5058.

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