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TEU Tertiary Update

Long wait over at Unitec

TEU members at Unitec finally have a collective agreement again, after nearly a year on individual employment agreements. Members at Unitec voted to ratify their new collective last Friday.

"This is now the second collective agreement that TEU has settled coming out of the old ITP MECA that dissolved in December last year," said national industrial officer Irena Brorens. "The settlement includes a salary increase and also makes some changes to leave and duty hours."

"The settlement means members are finally covered again by a collective agreement and are getting a salary increase which, apart from a one off payment of $750, they have not had since 2009."

The salary increase is 2 percent for November 2011 and 2 percent for November 2012, plus a 2 percent lump sum payment (in lieu of back pay as the collective agreement ended in December 2010).

The changes to discretionary leave will be compensated for with 2 percent on the annual salary for each week that is converted to professional development institutional leave. This change will be phased in during 2012 and 2013. All new staff will have their salaries increased by 8 percent to reflect the changes.

"This is a good outcome for current members and also for recruiting of new employees," said Ms Brorens, "because we will finally have transparency about what the salaries are for new staff and there will be a collective agreement for them to join."

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. General staff negotiations meander along at Auckland University
  2. Conference speaks up for public education
  3. Draper re-elected as vice-president
  4. Corruption scandal rocks University of Queensland
  5. Gareth Morgan challenges UnionAID
  6. Other news

Negotiations meander along at Auckland University

Negotiations for PSA and TEU general staff members at the University of Auckland resume today with mediation assistance. Union members have been negotiating for four months now, and are still awaiting a pay offer. TEU advocate Jane Kostanich says the union parties are ready to negotiate "but we need an offer from the employer, and a willingness to work together to create the work environment that members and the employer both desire."

In the meantime, general staff will be picketing outside Alfred Nathan House at lunchtime both today and tomorrow.

General staff have been campaigning for two year for a transparent, objective and fair pay system to replace the current performance pay system.

Conference speaks up for public education

TEU will use its conference in just over a week's time to 'speak up for education'. We have adopted the 'speak up for education' theme and goals of our sister union NZEI Te Riu Roa" says TEU national president Sandra Grey. "High quality public education at all levels is obviously a crucial issue with the general election so close. However, we also believe that it is our job to speak up for public education beyond the election. If we, the people who provide New Zealand's high quality public education, don't speak up for it then who else will?"

TEU members will be joining other education colleagues and students in a large public rally on the Monday evening in support of education.

"We see ourselves as part of a wider education community that stretches from early childhood right through to lifelong learning for adults," said Dr Grey. "We've been working closely with tertiary students all year to speak up for education and we are keen to work more closely with other teachers and learners too."

Policy remits at the conference will focus on the funding of public tertiary education. One such remit notes that TEU is committed to publicly funded and publicly owned tertiary education in New Zealand. "A high quality accessible public tertiary education system gives all citizens the opportunity to participate in higher education and contributes to strong communities and a strong economy."

Guest speakers David Robinson from the Canadian Association of University Teachers and the Australian National Tertiary Education Union’s Matt McGowan will be providing an international perspective on public education.

Draper re-elected as vice-president

Richard Draper from CPIT was re-elected last week as the ITP academic vice-president for a further two years for the 2012-2013 term. The union's national secretary Sharn Riggs, who acted as the returning officer for the ballot declared Mr Draper elected last Friday folowing a ballot of TEU's academic members in institutes of technology and polytechnics.

Mr Draper and TEU's other vice-presidents will be reporting to TEU conference delegates on Tuesday 22 November.

Corruption scandal rocks University of Queensland

Australia's Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) is warning it may launch a full investigation into the University of Queensland after the Courier-Mail revealed on Saturday that Vice-Chancellor Paul Greenfield and his deputy Michael Keniger were forced to stand down after an investigation found "irregularities" in the enrolment of a student known to the men.

Meanwhile, a separate allegation emerged that the Crime and Misconduct Commission was investigating claims the husband of an academic at the university was handed an unorthodox enrolment to the School of Dentistry.

In the case involving Prof Greenfield and Prof Keniger, it is understood that entry requirements for a course were relaxed to allow a student to enrol. As a result, it is believed a number of students who did not achieve sufficiently high scores also had to be allowed entry.

The Courier-Mail says there was internal uproar when the enrolment irregularity was discovered.

Prof Greenfield, who was paid $1,069,999 last year, and Prof Keniger, who is paid $989,999, both offered to stand down following the integrity investigation.

The university's governing body, the Senate, then agreed to allow Prof Greenfield to stay until after his 65th birthday in May.

Prof Greenfield is in South Korea on university business and was unavailable for comment.

Gareth Morgan challenges UnionAID

Gareth Morgan, through his Morgan Foundation, has agreed to match every dollar UnionAID raises up to $30,000 a year for its latest South India project.

"This is a very generous offer and I am confident unionists will meet his challenge and donate to UnionAID." said UnionAID chairman Ross Wilson.

Mr Morgan has put his support behind the UnionAID project, in partnership with the Tamil Nadu Labour Union, to organise and fund five cooperative-based businesses and more than 120 micro-enterprises among Dalit (untouchable) and Tribal (indigenous) people. The UnionAID project will also train 155 key representatives to deliver basic vocational and business skill training to 1,045 participants from local communities to increase their earning capacity and employability.

Mr Wilson says: "This exciting new project is an international model for union-led local economic development. I’m delighted that Gareth could see its potential and provide us with such a challenge."

The urgency for UnionAID now is to raise $30,000 itself to qualify receiving Gareth Morgan’s contribution."

The Tamil Nadu project builds on UnionAID’s work of the past three years, which has organised more than 30,000 people in Dalit and Tribal communities. It will help them achieve economic independence.

UnionAID is the only development agency with a focus on workers’ rights and which spends 100 percent of its donations on project funding. You may join UnionAID through their website: www.unionaid.org.nz or email: admin@unionaid.org.nz

Other news

"For students at universities and polytechnics, we're encouraging them to cast an advance vote if they're not sure they can make it to a polling booth on the day. Many of them are still on campus at the moment but might be moving back home or going on holiday." Advance polling booths have been set up at Otago, Auckland and Massey Universities to encourage students to vote before their exams end and they leave for the summer, Mr Do said - Dominion Post

Student demand for financial assistance and food bank services has soared in Dunedin, with welfare schemes run by student associations at the university and polytechnic being pushed past their financial limits - Otago Daily Times

Many British lecturers who are 'working to contract' over a pensions dispute are finding that they suddenly have time for themselves, their families and their colleagues. 40,000 members of the University and College Union (UCU) in 67 universities, has been "working to contract" since 10 October in a dispute over changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pensions - The Guardian

Otago Polytechnic is setting up a new campus in Auckland's Queen St next year to target the international student market. A report to Otago Polytechnic council members highlighted how 80 percent of New Zealand's international students were attracted to Auckland - Otago Daily Times

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Authorised by Sharn Riggs, Tertiary Education Union, 8th Floor, Education House 178-182 Willis St, Wellington 6011.

Tertiary Update is published weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the Tertiary Education Union and others. You can subscribe to Tertiary Update by email or feed reader. Back issues are available on the TEU website. Direct inquiries should be made to Stephen Day.

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