AUS Tertiary Update
Election green light for tripartite process
While the final result of the General Election will not be known for more than another week, the most likely outcome is the re-election of the Labour-led Government. Implicit in that is the continuing commitment of government to resolving long-term funding and salary problems in the university sector through the University Tripartite Forum. Without exception, all of the political parties discussing coalition or support arrangements with the Labour Party have told the Association of University Staff (AUS) that they will support the tripartite process. Aside from New Zealand First, all support multi-employer bargaining.
In preparation for the next meeting of the Tripartite Forum Working Group, scheduled for 4 October, representatives of the combined university unions and the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee met in Auckland shortly before the General Election to discuss the development of a joint paper on university salaries and resourcing. The writing of the paper will be shared between the two groups, with much of the work on salaries having already been completed.
Meanwhile, in the last of the negotiations for the renewal of university collective employment agreements, Waikato University management have amended their position on salaries. At negotiations last Friday, Waikato management’s original offer of a 3 percent increase from 1 June, which had been rejected by staff, was supplemented by a further 1.5 percent from 1 October. They have also agreed that any further funding for salaries made available through the tripartite process will be added as appropriate. This offer is being being put to ratification, the outcome of which will be known next Wednesday.
Salary offers of 3.7 percent at Lincoln University and 4.5 percent, with a further payment of $300 for union members, at the University of Auckland have been put to ratification ballots. The Auckland result will be known on Monday, with Lincoln to follow next Friday.
Meanwhile, salary offers of 4 percent at Victoria University and 5 percent at Otago University have now been ratified.
Massey and Canterbury Universities have previously settled their new collective agreements.
AUS General Secretary Helen Kelly said the union’s priority is now to ensure that sufficient progress is made in the tripartite process in order that the salaries information can assist funding decisions for the next Budget.
Tertiary Update this week
1. AUS releases IP guide
2. Wananga files Waitangi claim against Government
3. CPIT boss steps down
4. Universities score well in funding grants
5. New ACE restrictions announced
6. Student leader suspended in row over Islamist debate
7. Monash University threatens to withhold pay rises
8. Bitter pay disputes grip Argentina and Peru
AUS releases IP guide
The Association of University Staff today released a comprehensive guidebook intended to inform members about common intellectual property issues that arise in the employment context. The web-based resource, A Guide to Intellectual Property Rights, was written for AUS by Geoff McLay, a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Law at Victoria University, and is based (with permission) on a similar guide produced by the Association of University Teachers in the United Kingdom.
The guide examines intellectual property rights for active researchers and teachers in the university environment, and is intended to provide basic information to ensure that the rights of AUS members are protected. The guide includes a checklist of action points aimed at highlighting key aspects of intellectual property matters which AUS members should address. Topics include copyright; publishing; dispute resolution; the public lending right scheme; performers’ rights; electronic and other non-print media; design and registered design rights; patents, trade and service marks, product logos and product names; facts, data and confidential information; responsibilities of libraries; the academic’s intellectual property and the employer: copyright, patents, “trade secrets” and the duty of fidelity; using other people’s copyright; and penalties
Launching the guide, AUS National President Professor Nigel Haworth said its publication provided an outstanding first point of reference which would assist both academic and general staff to ensure that their rights are protected in the university environment. “This is an exceptionally well produced guide and will be particularly useful in what is an increasingly complex and thorny area for many university staff,” he said.
A Guide to Intellectual Property Rights can be found at: http://www.aus.ac.nz/publications/IP/IP05.pdf
files Waitangi claim against Government
In what appears to be a never-ending saga, a claim was filed in the Waitangi Tribunal on Monday this week alleging that the Crown has breached the Treaty of Waitangi in its dealings with Te Wananga o Aotearoa (TWOA), primarily through its pursuit of racially divisive policies. It says that the Crown’s attempts to impose a quota of 80 percent Maori students on the Wananga are both illegal and racially divisive.
The claim, which was lodged by lawyers Chen Palmer acting for the Aotearoa Institute, the parent body of TWOA, also says that the Crown has failed to honour a promise to pay the Wananga $20 million due under a suspensory loan intended to provide adequate capital for the institution to operate, significantly contributing to TWOA’s financial difficulties and allowing the Crown to take steps to gain control over the governance and management of the institution.
Harold Maniapoto and Dr Tui John Adams, on behalf of the Aotearoa Institute, say they have been forced to bring the claim because the Wananga has been the victim of a calculated plan of action by the Crown to gain control over the Wananga and turn it into a significantly smaller institution for Maori only. “The Crown has made a mockery of the Treaty of Waitangi and is squarely to blame for the financial predicament and negative publicity that has hounded the Wananga this year. It should have paid most of the loan by now as required by the Deed of Settlement,” they said. “Instead, the Crown has reneged on its promise to provide adequate capital funding to TWOA, appointed a Crown Manager and tried to sack the Council. It has pursued a relentless and ruthless campaign to downsize the Wananga in election year. These are not the actions of a Treaty partner acting in good faith.”
They continued: “To make matters worse, the Crown’s efforts to impose an illegal quota of 80 percent Maori on the Wananga, which has always been a racially inclusive institution as required by the law, was the real reason why the suspensory loan was not paid. There is absolutely no place for racially divisive policies in New Zealand education, and there is no way we could stand by and allow that to continue.”
The Minister of Education, Trevor Mallard, has declined to comment.
CPIT boss steps
Perhaps closing a chapter on another long-running saga, John Scott, the Chief Executive of the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, announced his resignation yesterday. According to The Press, Scott told a staff meeting, called to hear about progress on the institution’s sustainability review, that he would be leaving after eleven years at the helm.
Scott and CPIT were embroiled in controversy last year when it was revealed that the institution had received more than $13 million in public funding for its Cool IT computer programme which involved little more than handing out CD-Roms to members of the public. Students, who were recruited at random, were not required to attend classes or complete course work, and had no contact with teachers.
Following a damning report from the Auditor-General, the Tertiary Education Commission ordered the institution to repay $3.5 million of its funding.
But it did not end there. Scott came in for strong personal criticism from the then Minister of Education, Steve Maharey, who said that at no stage during the investigation into the Cool-IT scandal did he see any public acknowledgement from Scott of his need to meet the standards of judgement and decision-making expected of senior executives leading public-education institutions.
More recently, the relationship between Scott and the CPIT Council is understood to have soured after an annual review of Scott’s performance, reports that the relationship between Scott and some senior management had become “untenable”, industrial tension resulting in staff taking strike action and poor financial performance.
score well in funding grants
In the last funding releases announced before the General Election, the Minister of Education, Trevor Mallard, announced a total of more than $15 million in grants from the e-Learning Collaborative Development Fund (eCDF) and the Innovation Development Fund (IDF).
Universities feature in nine of the fifteen successful eCDF grants, aimed at building the use of computer and on-line technology in tertiary education.
According to Trevor Mallard, the projects that will be funded by these grants are diverse and range from workplace e-learning projects involving polytechnics and industry training organisations to the development of on-line professional development resources for people who teach adult literacy. “A Massey University-led project involves designing a web-based system for students to get together from different tertiary institutions and join study groups and receive expert advice,” he said. “Otago University is undertaking a project that aims to address a lack of any centrally maintained and managed on-line information literacy resources that can be used across the New Zealand tertiary sector.”
Similarly, universities are associated with six of the twelve successful grants, worth $8.4 million overall, for projects aimed at increasing innovation in the economy and helping key industries through the IDF. According to Trevor Mallard, the IDF is intended to help tertiary education organisations develop capacity in areas that are strategically relevant to growing the economy and lifting New Zealand’s skill base. Many of the projects are initiatives being funded jointly between public and private-sector organisations.
Among the recipients, the University of Auckland received almost $1 million towards a project entitled “Establishment of Teaching and Research Capabilities and Systems to Support Regulatory Compliance with New and Existing Medicines”, which focuses on establishing capabilities and facilities complying with internationally acceptable GLP (Good Laboratory Practices) standards.
New ACE restrictions announced
No tertiary education institutions will be allowed more than 700 equivalent full-time students (EFTS) in adult and community education next year, and self-directed community education will be limited under new Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) rules. A minimum of thirty EFTS will be allowed at any single institution.
Education Review reports that TEC has allocated each polytechnic and wananga a maximum number of adult and community education EFTS for next year comprising the lesser of this year’s EFTS minus 15 percent or whatever remains of a three-year allocation they were given when community education was first “cracked down on” last year.
Universities and colleges of education will be allowed to enrol up to the same number of community education EFTS as they did last year.
The new rules limit enrolments in self-directed community education to no more than thirty EFTS, except where there is prior agreement by the TEC.
Student leader suspended in row over Islamist debate
Middlesex University has suspended the President of its Student Union and revoked his studentship until further notice after he refused to cancel a debate with the controversial Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.
The Union was ordered to cancel the debate at the end of last week but refused, with the Student Union President, Keith Shilson, arguing that it should be allowed on the grounds of freedom of speech.
Mr Shilson was escorted from the campus by university security in what is believed to be the first disciplinary action to be taken against a student over the issue of extremism.
Hizb ut-Tahrir has been banned by the National Union of Students (NUS) because, according to NUS policy, the group is “responsible for supporting terrorism and publishing material that incites racial hatred”.
Last term, however, the Middlesex Students’ Union overturned the NUS ban and Mr Shilson invited representatives of Hizb ut-Tahrir to give a question-and-answer session scheduled for 28 September at the Union’s Hendon campus, which has the highest population of Muslim students.
University management stepped in at the end of last week to order the cancellation of the debate, following a speech by the Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, in which she said that vice-chancellors would have to crackdown on extremism on campuses.
The Union is expected to meet this week to decide what action it will take.
Monash University threatens to withhold pay
Australia’s Monash University has told staff it will not be able to pay salary increases worth $A27 million, due next year, if an agreement on salary and conditions is not reached before the Federal Government’s November 30 deadline for higher-education workplace reform requirements.
Monash staff received an agreed 3.5 per cent pay increase last week, but Deputy Vice-Chancellor Stephen Parker has warned staff that the University would not be able to meet a 6.5 per cent increase in 2006 if it loses Commonwealth funding. Universities may miss out on millions of dollars if their new enterprise agreements fail to comply with the Government’s reforms.
National Tertiary Education Union Branch President Carol Williams said next year’s increases were agreed to in February, well before the Government’s rules for funding were released in late April. She told The Australian she couldn't understand why the University could no longer stick to its original pay deal, suggesting it is possibly to cover losses in the international-student base.
From The Australian
pay disputes grip Argentina and Peru
University lecturers in two South American countries are embroiled in deep-rooted disputes with their governments. In Argentina, strikes have paralysed the higher education system while, in Peru, a national strike over pay has brought the public-university system to a virtual halt.
For more than two months, a total of thirty-two institutions across Peru have refused to open their doors to more than 300,000 students. In response to a claim from the Peruvian National Federation of University Teachers for annual salary increases of 30 per cent until 2008, the Government has offered 10 per cent. Anger has been heightened by the Government’s failure to deliver on a commitment, made in July by Peru’s President, that professors’ earnings would match those of judicial professionals. That would require a threefold increase in their salaries and would cost an estimated 452 million soles ($NZ196 million).
Meanwhile, Argentinian trade unions are pushing for pay increases of up to 70 per cent to return academics to their standard of living before the 2002 economic crisis. University teachers have been taking increasingly militant action this year to try to force the Government’s hand. Students at the National University of Cordoba, one of the most important in Argentina, have had no classes for five weeks. Recently, 20,000 students and lecturers marched through the city demanding better pay for academics. There have also been one-day strikes and sit-ins at state universities, including the University of Buenos Aires and the National University of La Plata.
Times Higher Education Supplement
AUS Tertiary Update is compiled weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the Association of University Staff and others. Back issues are available on the AUS website: www.aus.ac.nz . Direct enquires should be made to Marty Braithwaite, AUS Communications Officer, email: email@example.com