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Tertiary union slams Waikato University pay offer

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

It’s hard to look forward to a summer break when your employer undervalues the work you do.

That’s the sentiment from members of the Tertiary Education Union and the Public Service Association at the University of Waikato who met today to discuss the latest pay offer from their employer.

The University’s management is offering staff an average pay rise of 1.66% over the next three years, well below what TEU and PSA members in other universities have collectively negotiated. This is because the pay rises won’t happen until March next year.

TEU organiser and lead advocate for both unions, Shane Vugler says those in front of students, working in the labs and offices, entering results and marking exams, are being told they are going to get a lower salary increase than staff in every other NZ University for the next three years.

"This pay offer comes on the back of a systematic disinvestment in staff by the University over the last four years, as well as widespread restructuring and job losses across the University in 2019. All of this at the same time as they are funding a massive building programme on both the Hamilton and Tauranga campuses".

TEU and PSA members are angry that they are expected to cope with increased workloads and continue to improve their research and student outcomes, while in return are only offered the equivalent of 1.66% (this equates to only a 5% increase right through until 2023).

TEU and PSA members at the meeting today decided to reject the offer and move to a strike ballot in the New Year.

"No one wants to accept this pitiful pay offer and nobody relishes the prospect of having to take strike action hanging over their summer break, but we have no option until the University recognises and values the excellent job that staff do for students and our communities," says Vugler.

PSA organiser Frank Jackson adds "PSA members are as dismayed by the situation as are TEU members, and remain keen to work together. We hope that management can understand our determination here, and improve their offer".

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