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Otago University: further disruptions likely

Attention: Education and Industrial Reporters

20 September 2002

Otago University: Further disruptions likely but exam action lifted

Over 700 Otago University union members met yesterday to consider the latest employer offer in the long-running dispute that has seen unprecedented industrial action at the university.

Two Collective Employment Agreements are under negotiation, one covering general staff, the other academics.

General staff voted, by a narrow margin, to take the offer of 3% to formal ratification next week. Academic staff overwhelmingly rejected the same offer. However union members voted to lift the action withholding exam questions, meaning end-of-year exams will proceed.

Combined Unions' spokesperson, Dr Shef Rogers, said that it appears unlikely that settlement will be reached for either agreement next week. "General staff voted narrowly to take the offer to ratification, but not at a level that would be high enough to ratify."

Dr Rogers said the union negotiators met with the employer team after the stopwork meeting, raising issues that needed to be addressed to secure ratification for general staff and to progress academic discussions. "However the attitude of the employer this afternoon was not at all productive to reaching settlement,” said Dr Rogers. “There was a refusal to shift on any issues, despite our moves on the exams. We will hold urgent meetings tomorrow of academic staff and begin rolling stoppages from Monday morning."

Dr Rogers expected that general staff members would also be unhappy about the tone of discussions and would reject the current offer at their meeting next Friday. "It is intensely frustrating to have been this close to a partial settlement, only to meet with stony silence from the other side of the table."

Shef Rogers
03 479-8892 work
03 473-0527 home

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