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Super-union for tertiary education sector

Association of University Staff

Association of Staff in Tertiary Education

Media Release

Attn Education/Industrial Reporter 15 April 2008

Super-union for tertiary education sector

A new “super-union” will be created in the tertiary education sector, with the announcement today that the Association of University (AUS) Staff and the Association of Staff in Tertiary Education (ASTE) will amalgamate to form the New Zealand Tertiary Education Union from 1 January 2009.

The new 11,500-strong Tertiary Education Union will represent academic and general staff in New Zealand’s eight universities, twenty polytechnics and institutes of technology, two wānanga and a number of allied organisations.

AUS members have voted by a margin of 77 percent to amalgamate with ASTE to create the new union, following a conference recommendation last December in favour of a proposed merger. ASTE members voted last year to merge and have been waiting on the outcome of the AUS vote. Almost 94 percent of ASTE members who participated in the ballot voted in favour of amalgamation.

The presidents of the two existing unions, Associate Professor Maureen Montgomery (AUS) and Tangi Tipene (ASTE) said they were delighted with the strong support from the membership of each union in favour of amalgamation. Each union required a threshold of 65 percent in favour from those participating in the respective ballots to proceed.

Associate Professor Montgomery said that amalgamation was a logical move given that both unions had much in common and were committed to a strong, well-funded, public tertiary education system. “Both unions have worked successfully together and already collaborate in the negotiation of collective employment agreements in the university sector, and the benefits of this cooperation would be enhanced by amalgamation” she said.

Tangi Tipene said that amalgamation would strengthen both the political and industrial objectives of union members and would allow for the better use of resources. “Already this has been evidenced with the two unions combining to produce a common submission opposing the creation of university of technology as proposed by the New Zealand First Party,” she said.

Preparations for the formation of the new union are underway, with a rules conference to be held in late July and the two unions to hold a joint conference in November.


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