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September 18, 2016 | by  | in News Splash | [ssba]

TEU vs. VUW

On September 14 strike action was announced by the Victoria University branch of the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) over disagreements with the university regarding employment negotiations.

On September 15 those protesting wore red, played the Split Enz song “I See Red” each hour while at work, and posted on social media under the hashtag #iseered. Traditional strike action has not yet been ruled out.  

TEU Deputy Secretary Nanette Cormack said the strike action was a way for union members to express their feelings and support the bargaining team during negotiations.

She said the union was in dispute about three separate collective agreements which are currently being negotiated with the university.

“For the general staff obviously [the dispute] includes their pay scales.”

“For the academic staff and the research assistants and fellows, the dispute is around things like the salary increase and some other matters.”

The TEU has complained about the university advertising jobs with higher pay rates for those who are not on a union contract.

A recently advertised role for a librarian had a pay band of $57,280 to $78,760 if someone agreed to sign up on an individual agreement, and a band of $41,874 to $73,910 if someone wished to be part of the collective union agreement—a disparity of $4,850 between the highest offered salaries, and $15,406 between the lowest offered salaries.

The TEU believe this implied that the university “favours people who aren’t in a union.”

Victoria University said in a statement that it respected the rights of union members to take strike action, and that the university and TEU had agreed to return to the bargaining table before notice of strike action was given.

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