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Thank You - Together, We Achieved So Much in 2017!

Thank You - Together, We Achieved So Much in 2017!

It was because we stood together that we stopped the last National Government passing legislation to further privatise tertiary education, started a national debate about the declining conditions of work in tertiary education and helped create the conditions that mean we now have a government committed to publicly funded and publicly controlled tertiary education.

Together, we negotiated collectively at institutions across the country for a Living Wage and have worked hard to ensure the lowest paid workers get the biggest boosts in pay. We have also stood together for fair and secure work for more people working at our institutions. The work staff do is too important for them to have to constantly worry about their job ending because of fixed-term appointments.

We called on the government to better support the arts and humanities and put an end to failed performance metrics, reversed decisions to outsource essential services, challenged excessive workloads and poorly planned redundancies, and supported hundreds of members to ensure they get a fair deal at work.

There have been challenges along the way, of course – but in every department, every faculty and every institution we have stood strong and used our collective voice to demand a better future for all staff, students, and communities.

Our successes were not just about ensuring everyone has access to tertiary education that is public, local and focusing on learning – but about negotiating collectively for salaries and conditions that recognise the time, energy and skill put in by the staff that make our tertiary institutions great places to study.

Next year is about continuing this momentum and working together to make sure our communities have access to quality learning opportunities, changing the rules so staff and students have a voice in workplace decisions and improving salaries and conditions.

We know that the best results will be achieved if senior leaders, staff, students and government officials are able to work together, build sustained relationships and find ways to deliver our shared priority of quality tertiary education. Leading this work is an early priority for the TEU next year, particularly as the government starts developing its 30 year strategic plan for education.

As part of this work, the TEU, jointly with the Manukau Institute of Technology and the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) will host a forum on the future of vocational education and training. Education Minister, Chris Hipkins, will address the forum. The forum will be followed by a TEU and NZUSA hosted roundtable discussion on the future of our universities. Both of these important events will take place in early March, with full details to be announced in the New Year.

In the meantime, from everyone at the TEU national office, we hope you enjoy a restful holiday with whānau and friends. We look forward to working with you next year.

Freeze tertiary bosses’ pay until all staff paid the Living Wage

The Tertiary Education Union said today that the State Services Commission should take steps to reduce the imbalance in pay between Vice-Chancellors and Chief Executives and other staff of tertiary education institutions.

Read more…

Your favourite stories of 2017

To close the year we thought we’d share some of your favourite Tertiary Update stories and blogs from 2017.

Massey University vice-chancellor, Jan Thomas, caused dismay in October when she invited more than 1,000 staff to express an interest in quitting their jobs , raising fears that the institution could be restructuring by stealth.

The move caused a great deal of concern about the future of the Massey, a problem sadly echoed by news that the University of Otago is to cut 160 jobs in a massive shake-up in the way support services are delivered and that NorthTec management will cut courses and close two campuses .

These cuts are just a snapshot of the constant upheaval happening right across the sector , an issue that put the policies of the previous government under the spotlight in an article that criticised National for forcing the tertiary education sector down the wrong track .

Even the then Minister, Paul Goldsmith, admitted in a live interview that his government’s reforms risked lowering standards in the sector .

Goldsmith’s admission came after staff at tertiary education institutions came forward to share their experiences of how National’s perpetual underfunding of the sector and failed reforms have put them under increasing pressure to pass students and dedicate less time to teaching.

Rather than feeling they could speak up in their own workplaces about the pressures to amend grades, or change how they deliver a course, staff used the opportunity created by a TEU survey into staff wellbeing to talk anonymously to broadcasters, or comment on media websites - an issue the Minister chose to ignore .

The TEU has called on the new government to urgently redirect the sector following the welcome announcement that students will be able to study for free next year . The reforms that should be put in place were set out in a briefing published by the TEU immediately after the new government formed .

These changes can happen when we stand together , as was made clear by the TEU’s successful campaign to stop National’s attempt to change the law to funnel public money to private tertiary education.


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