INDEPENDENT NEWS

Massey University raises pay offer to staff

Published: Mon 19 Nov 2001 01:07 PM
Massey University raises pay offer to staff
Massey University has today made a final pay offer to academic and general staff.
At a meeting between the two bargaining teams in Palmerston North, University negotiators increased their offer for the coming year to a 1-point-8 per cent increase plus a one per cent lump sum payment to be paid in April. The offer for the year 2003 has been increased to 2 per cent.
That compares with the previous offer of a 1- point-8 per cent increase for next year and 1-point-8 for 2003. Registrar Adrienne Cleland says the new offer is amongst the highest yet made by a university in what appears to be a national campaign by the unions, involving employers in widely differing financial circumstances.
She says Massey University is taking on a serious risk in raising its offer, given limited funding for next year, the cap on student fees and uncertainty over future funding. “The offer of 1-point-8 for next year represents the very limited value to the University of the Government’s funding increase in return for a cap on fees. It is all we have been given and it is all we have to give. Therefore it is all we can responsibly offer our staff.”
Mrs Cleland says if the government does not increase funding, the University will have to find other ways to finance the higher offer of an effective 2.8 per cent increase for 2002. “The cost to the University of the one per cent lump sum payment alone would be one-point-three million dollars. That means we will be looking to staff to help us achieve economies. We remain determined not to be forced to cut support and services to students.
“To quote a recent editorial in the Manawatu Evening Standard, the University is caught between a rock and a hard place.”
Mrs Cleland is also urging union members (less than 50% of the University’s staff) who intend to take industrial action to consider the potentially damaging effect on the study and employment plans of students.
“It is hardly a coincidence that the union decision to withhold grades is taking place at a time when it will cause the maximum disruption and inconvenience to students. We know many of them are unhappy about this. Most are currently off campus and so they are not in a position to voice their opinions through student associations.”
Mrs Cleland says the University is absolutely committed and resolute to do everything we can to ensure that students not be disadvantaged by this action, but says this will inevitably put pressure on other academic and general staff. An analysis of student groups likely to be most adversely affected by the industrial action is being prepared.
She says unfortunately, inaccurate information has also been circulated about previous pay increases. Last year academic staff received an average 3.5 per cent increase, including annual increments, and the overall increase is likely to be similar this year. The average salary of academic staff involved in teaching and research at the Palmerston North campus is $70,540.
ENDS

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