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Further strike action planned for universities

Further strike action planned for universities

University staff at five New Zealand universities are to take further strike action in protest at the refusal of their vice-chancellors to agree to national employment agreements, or to make acceptable salary offers. Union members at Auckland, Waikato and Canterbury will strike on 19 August, while those at Victoria and Lincoln will strike on 29 August.

The strike action will be supported by a variety of other actions including lightning actions, refusals to participate in open days, bans on some administrative duties and working-to-rule.

Vice-chancellors have offered salary increases of between 2 and 4.5 percent, conditional on single-employer agreements.

Combined unions’ spokesperson Professor Nigel Haworth said that he was particularly disappointed a settlement proposal from the unions, which would have allowed the parties to end the current dispute and concentrate on resolving salary problems through a University Tripartite Forum, had been rejected by vice-chancellors.

“The refusal of vice-chancellors to resolve this dispute indicates clearly that they are not still not ready to put behind the university sector a dispute that simply need not be,” said Professor Haworth. “Both Government and the unions have shown a willingness to engage in a collaborative process to find constructive remedies to the salary problems. But, for collaboration to be effective, it requires the vice-chancellors to end to this dispute.”

Professor Haworth said that staff had moved significantly in an attempt to reach settlement; and it was particularly disappointing that vice-chancellors had failed to follow that leadership and reach a sensible solution.

“Union members have shown today that they are now prepared to take sustained and prolonged industrial action to settle this dispute,” said Professor Haworth. “They believe that resolving this problem on a national basis is in the best interests of maintaining and enhancing the long-term quality and viability of the sector.”

Ends

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