Employee benefits negotiations start at seven universities

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University employees need a pay rise to keep pace with inflation, their representatives say.

Photo: 123RF/ Matej Kastelic

Collective agreements expired at the same times at all eight New Zealand universities, and the Tertiary Education Union said it had started negotiations at all, except Canterbury.

It wants an 8 percent pay increase for its members, about 8,000 people throughout the motu.

It said university staff had borne the costs of the pandemic and wanted to ensure members could pay their bills.

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The union’s national secretary, Sandra Gray, said universities could afford the raise.

Research commissioned by the union and conducted by Business and Economic Research Ltd showed that universities’ spending on staff had not increased as much as their spending on other things, she said.

“We’re looking for an 8 percent increase, which is slightly more than what CPI is.”

(The Consumer Price Index measures inflation as experienced by New Zealand households.)

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“The cost of living is going up,” Gray said. “As everyone knows when they go to the supermarket or fill up their car, they know it’s getting more and more expensive – and we’re just trying to make sure our members can pay their bills.”

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