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Vice-Chancellor jeopardises University Salaries

22 June 2005

Vice-Chancellor jeopardises University Salaries Group

The University of Auckland Branch of the Association of University Staff (AUS) says is of serious concern that Auckland's Vice-Chancellor wishes to broaden the agenda of the University Salaries Group (USG), which is being established by the Minister of Education, to include all university funding issues.

The Minister announced last week that he is setting up the University Salaries Group to consider and resolve issues around salaries in the university sector.

AUS Auckland Branch President, Associate Professor Peter Wills, said that salaries make up approximately 56% of that University's expenditure, and represent the most pressing issue for both AUS members and the Government, as demonstrated by the establishment of the USG. "Therefore, it is disappointing that the Vice-Chancellor is publicly jeopardising the USG initiative," he said.

"While the Vice-Chancellor is critical of the unions for having a narrow focus on improving salaries, it is the unions' view that salaries have suffered at the expense of other priorities for the last 15 years, both here and at other universities, and it is now time for university employers, in cooperation with the government, to formulate a proper, long-term solution to the problem for the benefit of both staff and fee-paying students," said Associate Professor Wills.

"The union has "won" the establishment of the tripartite salaries group. In terms of the battle to improve the position of university staff it is the most significant development for as long as many of us can remember," said Associate Professor Wills.

"As a union we are also keen to address issues such as staff/student ratios, and improving the quality of teaching and research facilities and equipment, but when the Government acknowledges that university salaries are a major problem and creates a forum to discuss and resolve the relevant issues, then everything should be done to use that limited opportunity to the maximum."

Associate Professor Wills said he urged the Vice-Chancellor and the University Council not to squander the opportunity in front of us by trying to change the Government's mind about what it will talk about, now that we finally have a hard-earned agreement on the issue of salaries.


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