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Canterbury collective employment settlement

Combined University Unions
Media Advisory
8 September 2005

University of Canterbury collective employment agreements settled

Union members at the University of Canterbury yesterday ratified the settlement of their four main collective agreements, bringing to an end several months of industrial disruption. Union members will receive a salary increase of 5 percent from 1 August, with 2.75 percent backdated to 1 May.

Canterbury is the first of the universities to settle local agreements following the achievement of a national umbrella agreement between vice-chancellors and the combined university unions last week. Under that agreement, which becomes effective when all local collective agreements are finalised, the parties will work actively and constructively with each other through the University Tripartite Forum to consider and resolve long-standing salary and funding problems in the university sector and to implement these outcomes in collective agreements.

Combined unions’ spokesperson, Dr David Small, said that, through their collective efforts including successful strike action, staff had shifted the University from its original offer of 3.25 percent, and into agreeing to a national process for future salary discussions. Union members had also been successful in putting the issue of salaries on the political agenda. “It has always been our view that the resolution of the salary problems facing the sector would be through a political as well as industrial process. The agreement we have reached places an enforceable obligation on the vice-chancellors collectively to give the salary issue a high priority in the tripartite process; use their best endeavours to develop, agree and implement sustainable solutions to providing fair and competitive salaries; and to implement, as appropriate, agreed outcomes into collective agreements.”

Staff at Victoria, Auckland, Otago, Massey and Lincoln Universities will vote, over the next week, on the ratification of local agreements. Negotiations are resuming at the University of Waikato where the salary offer, at 3 percent, remains the lowest in the country.

The University Tripartite Forum Working Group is currently preparing background papers on salaries and funding, with the Forum to meet in October.

It is the unions’ intention and expectation that quick progress will be made on the salaries issue and that the Government will be in a position to provide funding through the next Budget.

ENDS

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