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PSA university members endorse industrial action

PSA university members endorse industrial action

Public Service Association (PSA) members working in universities have voted to take industrial action if their employers refuse to conclude a new national multi-employer collective agreement.

The PSA represents many general (administrative and support) staff working at universities. Members at six of the seven universities covered by the negotiations voted in favour of taking industrial action. Nationally industrial action was supported by 59 per cent of members.

The PSA advocate on the combined unions negotiating team, Dunedin organiser Keith McFadyen, said members believe a multi-employer agreement (meca) is one mechanism for unions and management to present their case for adequate funding for universities to the government.

“Funding for New Zealand’s university sector is widely acknowledged to be inadequate. In this environment universities are being forced to make hasty decisions which undermine their ability to offer descent wages and working environment. Recent moves to restructure the University of Waikato illustrate this point very well.

“Our members want to work in partnership with management to secure additional government funding for the university sector. The alternative approach is to lock horns at the negotiating table over a pot of money we both acknowledge to be inadequate.

“The refusal of the universities to collectively engage with the unions will significantly undermine any case we could put to the government.

“A further two-day set of negotiations begins in Christchurch tomorrow. It is past time to act collectively, which is why our members have been forced into a corner and support industrial action to improve their terms of employment,” Keith McFadyen said.

ENDS

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