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University employment agreements ratified

Combined University Unions - Media Release

Attn Education/Industrial Reporter 31 August 2006

University employment agreements ratified

New collective employment agreements have been ratified for academic and general staff at seven New Zealand universities, with the result that the salary increases negotiated as a result of the tripartite discussions among unions, vice-chancellors and the Government can be implemented.

The settlements follow a lengthy process during the year culminating in the decision by the Government to provide a funding package of $26 million to universities as an interim step to resolving long-term funding and salary problems in the sector.

Provisional figures show that more than 98 percent of those participating in the ballots voted in favour of the settlements at Auckland, Waikato, Massey, Victoria, Canterbury, Lincoln and Otago universities. The ratification will see salary increases for academic staff of between 6.0 and 7.5 percent and for general staff of between 4.0 and 5.5 percent over the course of the year.

The spokesperson for the combined university unions, Helen Kelly, said that, while the salary increases varied among universities and between academics and general staff, she believed that union members saw the settlements as a positive step towards resolving salary problems. “Union members also know that the government money, which funded a major portion of the increases, was a direct result of their campaigning over the past three years, and that this campaign would continue”she said. “The vote indicated an overwhelming mandate for the national approach to bargaining and our priority now is to enter the second stage of the tripartite process.”

Ms Kelly said she expected that tripartite process would provide an opportunity to engage with the Government on the new funding model for and governance of tertiary education as well as salaries and associated issues around national collective bargaining.

ENDS

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