Auckland Uni staff plan strike over pay

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Auckland University employees are set to take part in a strike later this week as management and union representatives have so far failed to reach agreement despite seven months of negotiations.

The Tertiary Education Union is calling on Auckland University to provide a cost-neutral flat rate pay increase, better pay for professional staff and the Living Wage for university employees.

The TEU recently proposed a 1.2 percent pay increase in 2017 followed by a flat rate pay rise of $1,200 from 1 February 2018, as well as an increase of $3,500 for those at the bottom of the professional pay scale.

The union argues that a flat rate pay rise would make an important contribution to addressing the gender pay imbalance, as there are significantly more women in professional staff roles at the university.

Auckland University rejected the proposal, countering with a 1.2 percent increase in pay for two consecutive years, with a commitment to discuss the merits of a flat rate rise after the first year.

However, if discussions about a flat rate rise were unsuccessful, TEU members would have no recourse as it is illegal to take strike action during the term of an agreement.

“It’s not too late for senior management to avoid strike action,” said John Egan, academic co-president of the TEU at Auckland University. “All they have to do is return to the table and offer staff a fair and equitable flat rate pay increase for 2018.

“Our academic members are willing to take a lower increase to offset the inadequate wages of our professional staff colleagues—we want less, not more.”

More than 1,000 employees will take part in the strike action on Thursday if a deal is not reached before then.

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