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Unitec Staff go on strike

Tui Matelau



Non-academic members of the Tertiary Institutes Allied Staff Association (TIASA) have taken industrial action against Auckland’s Unitec for the first time in 25 years.
Staff decided to take action against Unitec in mid-February after staff were offered a two and a half percent pay increase, in comparison to the four percent offered at other institutes. Although recent mediation saw the offer increased to three percent, staff were unable to decide whether to accept the new offer and negotiations will continue.
Chairperson of Unitec’s TIASA branch Jan Cooke, says Unitec’s offer was, “derisive (as) the less you’re paid, the less your free time is worth.” A similar offer was made by Unitec in 2005 and was accepted by the members of the TIASA union despite objections had at the time. Their decision then was heavily influenced by Unitec’s financial situation, as well as by its attempt to become a University.
However TIASA members are refusing to back down this year, saying instead of gratitude, they received increased workloads and numerous reviews from Unitec management.
When asked if any future industrial action would affect students in any way, TIASA advocate Shirley Walthew says, “all the union members are loyal to the students, so they hopefully will not
be affected.”
Unitec’s CEO John Webster was unable to comment on the action being taken by the TIASA members due to “the good faith provisions of the Employment Relations Act.”