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Fighting for fair pay and working conditions — Tertiary staff strike amidst negotiation deadlock

4 March, 2023 

Interviews by Spike Keith, adapted by Joe Wickins

Members of Te Hautū Kahurangi, the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) from Waipapa Taumata Rau, the University of Auckland, are continuing their strike action. Photo supplied by the Tertiary Education Union.

Academic staff at the University of Auckland stopped work from 1:30pm on Wednesday 1 March until 12:30pm on Thursday 2 March, as students returned to classes during orientation week. 

TEU Members are continuing their calls for better conditions and pay as negotiations between the unions and the University remain deadlocked in a dispute that has been ongoing since October 2022. 

This strike came after a stop work meeting on February 17, where TEU members at the University voted to continue their campaign to progress collective agreement negotiations.

Green MP Ricardo Menéndez March, who attended the strike, told 95bFM's Spike Keith that the University is making problematic proposals to staff around retirement, which will affect their well-being.  

“It is so clear being here on the ground that both the staff and students recognise that they need fair pay.”

The union have outlined a number of demands, including a fair pay deal that matches the rising cost of living and inflation, no removal of long-fought for union rights from their collective agreement, and no translocation of sections of the agreement into policy so the University can change it without their agreement.  

A member of the TEU told Spike Keith that professional staff members, maintenance workers, and gardeners will not receive the full cost of living adjustment if they are deemed to be underperforming staff members, using an opaque performance pay review system.

“Some people will not get a cost of living adjustment at this University. We are fighting for our worker's rights and fair working conditions.”

Public interest journalism funded through NZ On Air