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University salaries must remain high priority

Association of University Staff

Media Release
19 October 2005

University salaries must remain high priority

University salaries and funding must remain a top priority for the incoming Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education), according to the Association of University Staff (AUS).

Welcoming the incoming Minister, Dr Michael Cullen, into his new tertiary education role, AUS National President, Professor Nigel Haworth, said that such a high-level appointment was clear evidence that the Government recognises the strategic importance of the university sector, and is committed to resolving long-standing funding and salary problems.

A former Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education) is the new Minister of Education.

“These appointments shows that the Government as a whole, and not just individual ministers, appreciate the extent of the problems facing the university sector, and that Government is committed to finding constructive solutions through working with the unions and vice-chancellors,” said Professor Haworth.

“The Labour Party gave a commitment to continuing the University’s Tripartite Forum in its tertiary education manifesto for the recent General Election, and Dr Cullen’s appointment, supported by that of Mr Maharey, will give university staff the confidence that the Government is serious about its manifesto commitment,” said Professor Haworth. “It also shows that the industrial campaign mounted by university staff over last two years will deliver political solutions to funding and salary problems.”

Professor Haworth said that the incoming Ministers' backgrounds in both finance and tertiary education makes him ideally suited to continuing the tripartite process. This will ensure that university staff are paid “fair and appropriate” salaries, sufficient to recruit and retain suitable staff, strengthen employee commitment to the delivery of quality tertiary education research and teaching, and enable universities to build on the existing reputation and skill base.

The University Tripartite Forum is expected to meet again later this month with the expectation that its initial work will inform funding decisions for the university sector in the next Budget.

Ends

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