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Varsity staff support polytechnic strike action

Varsity staff support polytechnic strike action

University staff said they support their counterparts on strike at polytechnics around the country today.

Teaching staff at six New Zealand polytechnics are on strike over the failure of their employers to agree to a new multi-employer collective employment agreement, and their failure to offer adequate salary increases to staff during negotiations.

Association of University Staff (AUS) National President, Dr Bill Rosenberg said that polytechnic employers, like their university counterparts, were failing to grasp the significance of the new environment which clearly called for cooperation and collaboration across the whole tertiary sector.

“Tertiary sector employers are carrying on in the competitive model of the 1990s,” said Dr Rosenberg. “The government supports multi-employer bargaining and it is extraordinary that polytechnic employers are wasting new opportunities, time and public money by carrying on in a highly competitive mode”.

Dr Rosenberg said he believed the inadequate levels of funding in the tertiary sector were major factors that were exacerbated by the lack of cooperation between employers and called on the government to address long term systemic funding problems.

“Government tuition funding to universities and polytechnics is still more than $1500 per student behind 1991 levels and current funding projections give little hope that this will increase to allow for well deserved pay increases,” he said.

Dr Rosenberg said he was disappointed that the government had not addressed funding difficulties for tertiary institutions in recent Budget rounds and seemed content for industrial confrontations to arise as a result.

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