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Massey University staff postpone strike action

Massey University staff postpone strike action

Massey University staff today voted to postpone strike action, scheduled for Thursday, following advice that their Vice-Chancellor, Professor Judith Kinnear, is prepared to continue discussions on national collective employment agreements for academic and general staff.

Professor Kinnear has written to the university unions saying she will consider proposed one-year national agreements, on an interim basis, while discussions continue with the Government aimed at identifying and resolving salary problems in the sector. She said that while she remains committed to addressing salary problems, national employment agreements could only be achieved if the majority of other vice-chancellors are also agreeable.

Combined unions’ spokesperson Professor Nigel Haworth said that, in her letter, Professor Kinnear had undertaken to discuss the unions’ proposal for one-year agreements with other vice-chancellors as it would preserve the position of all parties in the short-term. “This is welcome leadership, and indicates that she recognises that national agreements are a constructive and potentially productive manner by which to deal with national salary problems,” said Professor Haworth. “The Government has initiated a tripartite group to consider and resolve these problems, it is now up to the vice-chancellors to agree to national collective agreements and deal with this problem on a sector-wide basis.”

Professor Haworth said that while Massey was yet to make an acceptable salary offer, lifting Thursday’s strike action would allow negotiations to continue.

Industrial action is set to intensify at five New Zealand universities with staff to strike on Thursday this week. Staff will then vote on escalating their action to include a further full-day strike on 19 August, rolling stoppages, working-to-rule and bans on some administrative functions if agreement is not reached.

Professor Haworth said that if matters still under negotiation at Otago and Massey were not satisfactorily resolved before 19 August, staff at those universities were also likely to be involved in the round of industrial action.


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