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Open Polytechnic Doesn’t Impress

17 November 2005

“Open Polytechnic Doesn’t Impress with first offer to union members”

Open Polytechnic Academic staff have overwhelmingly voted in favour of supporting their bargaining team with industrial action should their employer’s offer of 1.5% remain at that level.

The academic staff, who are members of the Association of Staff in Tertiary Education (ASTE) find it difficult to reconcile the employer’s offer with the increases afforded the Chief Executive Officer and with reported surpluses of $4m for the last two financial years.

The institution was among the top seven performers in the Polytechnic sector returning a surplus of 5.6% in 2004.

In addition The Open Polytechnic Annual Report for 2004 shows that the institution has nearly $14m sitting as investments and one of the highest student to academic staff ratio’s. Conservatively ASTE estimates that this sits at 30 EFTs per academic teaching staff member.

Phil Dodds, Central Region Field Officer for the Association of Staff in Tertiary Education said that “Members are dismayed at the pay offer, especially given that staff accepted a ‘bonus’ type payment in 2004 to ‘assist’ the Polytechnic deal with a struggling financial position rather than an increase to their salary (despite a declared $4m surplus). Already this year inflation (CPI) is hitting 3.4%”. Members have asked the question, “Where is the logic in such a miserly offer from the employer?”

Some other Polytechnics have paid considerably more than this employer’s first offer and their financial status is less healthy - yet those institutions didn’t insult their employees with such a poor pay offer but were prepared to acknowledge and value the contribution with a reasonable pay deal.

“Academic staff believe that their contribution needs to be valued more,” said Mr. Dodds. “The staff recognise that The Open Polytechnic is an important institution for delivering distance education across the whole of New Zealand. However they want real acknowledgement of their goodwill that has contributed to the institution’s overall success.”

ENDS

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