The University of Auckland creates two classes of staff
The scrap between the National government and the Post Primary Teachers Association has enjoyed plenty of media attention, and was analysed interestingly in this article by Chris Trotter, but there is also a confrontation developing at the University of Auckland, where management is frustrating staff by refusing to agree to a variety of claims, and by failing to offer any pay increase at all for 2011. This post by Skyler reproduces a press release she helped write for the Auckland branch of the Tertiary Education Union...]
Auckland University has hired over one hundred academics in the past few months under lesser terms and conditions than their colleagues doing the same work. This new casualised category of staff, Professional Teaching Fellows (PTFs), are mostly on fixed term contracts and do not progress incrementally in salary like other academics. The new PTF category effectively replaces the Senior Tutor position.
“Academics are increasingly losing our job security,” says Dr Joce Jesson, Principal Lecturer at the School of Critical Studies in Education and member of the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) Branch Committee at The University of Auckland. “It is unfair for the university to employ people doing the same work on different conditions,” Dr Jesson adds.
Union members have been negotiating for two months for PTFs to have the same employment rights and conditions as other academic staff.
So far the University has refused.
Other issues union members want addressed through the bargaining include parity with other universities in regards to annual leave and some incremental salary steps for non-academic staff.
“We are a leading university but in terms of some significant working conditions of staff we lag behind other universities in New Zealand,” says Dr Paul Taillon, Senior Lecturer in History at The University of Auckland and TEU bargaining team member.
“After nine meetings with our employer we are no further ahead in our negotiations than we were on day one,” says Cerian Wagstaff, co-president of the University of Auckland branch of TEU, “the university has basically said no to every one of our claims, even those that don't cost any money.” The University of Auckland is out of step with the rest of New Zealand’s universities and is the only one still a long way away from reaching an agreement with its staff.
“The other universities have settled, or are close to settling, their collective agreements on reasonable terms in an atmosphere of collegiality. It is clear that those employers see the value of engaging in meaningful negotiations with unions representing their employees,” says Dr Taillon.
If you want to find out more about how the Collective Agreement Negotiations are going at The University of Auckland and the issues they are facing you can follow the links below.
Find out about the terms and conditions of the new Professional Teaching Fellow position:
Watch the University of Auckland 2010 Collective Agreement Negotiations update video at
Find out about the unions' Fair Pay model for general staff at www.payfairly.org.nz
Here is a link to an article by Dr Joce Jesson about churn and academic labour: http://www.teacherswork.ac.nz/journal/volume7_issue1/jesson.pdf
ABSTRACT: 'Using the background of a visit to North America, this article considers the symptoms of change in the university labour market of the global knowledge economy and raises concerns for those working in higher education to consider for the future. It discusses university outsourcing, and the work of academic staff. It ends by suggesting that academia needs to go back and reclaim the ideals of the university as a community of scholars and teachers.'