AUS Tertiary Update Vol 4 No 40
In our lead story this week…..
INDUSTRIAL ACTION KICKS IN
Staff at Otago and Massey Universities have this week voted to escalate industrial action over their pay claims. The Association of University Staff Otago branch president, Dr Shef Rogers, says more than 300 academic and general staff have rejected the collective contract pay offer at three meetings. The offer was a 2% lump sum payment before Christmas and a 2% salary increase from February. Academic staff have already begun delaying the internal processing of many results, and staff unions say a work-to-rule will come into force from 20 November. OUSA President, Ayesha Verrall, has written to AUS and PSA members expressing support for the claim.
Meanwhile, staff on Massey's Hokowhitu and Turitea campuses have voted overwhelmingly to begin "open-ended and escalating action", joining their colleagues at Albany campus, who voted for action last Friday. The Combined Union Team spokesperson, Jan McPherson, says the meeting, after a lot of discussion, had decided to withhold student grades to get their message across to the university management. She says staff appreciated the support of the president of the Massey Students Association, Huia Welton, who attended the stopwork. "Huia appreciated, as the majority of our students do, that the well-being of staff greatly affects the quality of the education we can provide," Ms McPherson said. Staff at Auckland and Victoria are also delaying the release of student results as part of their industrial action. Canterbury University staff plan to protest at graduation on 12 December.
Another round of stopwork meetings will be held next month around the country to discuss further action affecting enrolments and next year's graduations.
Tertiary Update this week:
1. Widespread consultation promised on report
2. New Victoria Chancellor elected
3. Test case for equal pay
4. US academics protest at 'gagging'
5. Canada relaxes academic employment rules
6. China woos private investors for higher education
WIDESPREAD CONSULTATION PROMISED ON
The government is promising it will consult widely before it comes to any decisions on a new funding system for tertiary education in this country. A series of consultation meetings is being held around the country to get feedback on the fourth and final report of the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission (TEAC), “Shaping the Funding Framework” and submissions are also being sought. Announcing the timetable, the minister in charge of the sector, Steve Maharey said the government would be "carefully listening to feedback". Public submissions on the report close on 31 January 2002, and consultation meetings are being held as follows: AUCKLAND – today, 15 November, 1pm, Hotel Grand Chancellor, Auckland Airport; HAMILTON – 16 November, 9am, Glenview International Hotel; CHRISTCHURCH, 20 November, 1pm, The Arts Centre; DUNEDIN – 21 November, 9am, The Dunedin Centre; PALMERSTON NORTH, 27 November, 1pm, The Coachman Hotel; WELLINGTON – 28 November, 9am, The Old Town Hall. The full report and the government's initial response can be found at: www.executive.govt.nz/minister/Maharey
In an editorial, the "Manawatu Standard" has criticised the latest TEAC report, saying it could "damage, perhaps mortally, the dearly-held tradition of open entry to higher education". The paper says that while there are people at university who shouldn't be there, rationing should not "artificially stymie people on the grounds that …..20 years earlier they had bombed out of school." Any changes, it says, should be thoroughly debated.
NEW VICTORIA CHANCELLOR ELECTED
A former Victoria University staff member, Rosemary Barrington has been elected as Victoria University's new chancellor. She will take over the position at the beginning of next year from Russell Marshall, who becomes New Zealand's high commissioner to London.
TEST CASE FOR
AUSTRALIAN EQUAL PAY
Librarians in Australia are to test the recently introduced principal of gender pay equity with an average pay claim of 14% to bring them in to line with male-dominated professions. The claim to the Industrial Relations Commission is being taken by the Public Service Association on behalf of librarians, library technicians and archivists and argues that they are undervalued because they are mostly female. Australian has long had laws requiring men and women to be paid the same for doing the same job, but last year the Commission introduced the principle of pay equity between female and male-dominated professions. If the librarians' case is successful, child-care workers, hairdressers, nurses and other traditionally female industries could bring their own cases.
PROTEST AT 'GAGGING'
Hundreds of academics in the United States are reported to have signed a statement pushing for the right to question the wisdom of the US bombing campaign against Afghanistan in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks. Britain's "Guardian" newspaper says the action follows growing concerns that government and university officials are disciplining lecturers who question the bombing campaign. The paper says the campaigners plan to publish their statement in the "New York Times". The statement is also said to be circulating among academics in Britain. According to the 'Guardian' report, City University in New York, the Universities of Texas in Austin, MIT, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst are among those that have tried to silence academics for speaking out.
RELAXES ACADEMIC EMPLOYMENT RULES
The Canadian government has relaxed rules relating to the hiring of non-Canadians for academic positions. Colleges will be allowed to recruit professors from the US and other countries without first trying to find qualified Canadians for the job. As a result, job ads can be placed simultaneously in Canada and other countries. However, the government says Canadians and Canadian residents must still be given 'priority' in job placement and tertiary institutions will have to make annual reports on the numbers of Canadian and foreign academics hired. The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada had lobbied for a relaxation of policy, saying the old policy put Canadian institutions at a disadvantage in the global marketplace at time when Canada is in urgent need of more academic staff.
CHINA WOOS PRIVATE INVESTORS FOR
The Chinese government is launching a major investment programme for its higher education sector. The influential "People's Daily" newspaper says the government is encouraging further co-operation between foreign universities and Chinese institutions to increase the number of joint degree courses available in China. The newspaper says the government is also planning to raise more money for the sector over the next five years through government bond issues and loans from international financial organisations.
AUS Tertiary Update is produced weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the union and others. Back issues are archived on the AUS website: