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Green light for national salary bargaining

Combined University Unions - Media Release

Attn Education/Industrial Reporter 2 March 2006

Green light for national salary bargaining in universities

Members of the unions representing staff in New Zealand’s universities (except AUT which is not involved in this bargaining) have voted overwhelmingly to support the negotiation of national collective employment agreements in the next bargaining round.

The ballot, conducted on a university-by-university basis, endorsed a recommendation by the unions, to move from enterprise-based bargaining at each university campus to the negotiation of one national collective agreement for academic staff and another for general staff employed in the seven traditional universities.

1827 (95.5 percent) of the 1914 academic staff who participated in the ballot voted in support of the proposal, and 1697 (94.2 percent) of the 1801 general staff also voted to support national bargaining.

The result means that bargaining with the universities will be initiated in March, and is expected that formal negotiations will commence in April.

Combined unions’ spokesperson, Jeff Rowe, said he was pleased with the result as, following last year’s negotiations, the unions have been engaged in a tripartite process with vice-chancellors and the Government to find solutions to long-standing funding and salary problems facing the university sector. “The high number of union members voting in this ballot, along with the high level of support for national bargaining, has given us a very clear mandate to continue this process with university employers,” he said. “It also shows that university staff appreciate the link between funding and salaries, and support the view that, while the Government has a responsibility to increase sector funding by a significant level, the best means to improve salaries is through a national collective bargaining process.”

Mr Rowe said he expected university employers to support the decision of union members and recognise that the salary crisis in the sector was an issue that would only be resolved on a national basis, and with the co-operation of university employers, unions and the Government. “We are providing the vice-chancellors with the mechanism, of national collective employment agreements, to make this happen,” he said

ENDS

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