Academics turn down 4 percent pay rise to protect education

The vice chancellor of Auckland University is trying to offer academics a 4 percent pay rise - but it comes with some big, and costly, hooks.

So academic members of the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) have turned down the offer and said we would rather have no pay rise at all than lose important conditions of work which enable us to do our job.

The vice chancellor Stuart McCutcheon has rejected staff pleas to keep important working conditions in our employment agreement, instead demanding academics move a number of core conditions that are crucial to academics doing our job into policy over which we would have no control.

If a term of employment is in an employment agreement it can be changed when both sides agree to it. If it that condition is in a workplace policy it can be changed by the employer without the employee having a say.

The conditions the university wants to remove from our collective agreement include include areas such as academic grades – standards and criteria, research and study leave, disciplinary procedures and outside activities.

TEU national president Dr Sandra Grey says she's astonished that Auckland University's vice chancellor isn't listening when his own staff are saying they will turn down money so that they can do their job the best way they can, and give their students the best education they can.

"The core conditions being defended by academic staff are not privileges or perks – they relate directly to ensuring quality education and research at the university."

For example, access to modest research and study leave ensures New Zealand academics have the opportunity to meet and work with the best scientists, social scientists, and practitioners around the world – something crucial to the advancement of New Zealand knowledge, our economy, and our society.

Now we University of Auckland academics are campaigning to change the vice chancellor's position. We want you to join us.