Members of the Tertiary Education Union at the Manukau Institute of Technology are striking. A TEU member explains the dispute:
Basically lecturers at MIT are going on strike this week over workload pressures. Last year the Institute cut all its admin staff, and surprise, everyone else’s workload increased. Then this year, with the recession, heaps of new student enrolments, but no new govt funding or staff to match that increase. Currently, the MIT collective agreement allows for teaching staff to teach a maximum of 835 contact hours a year. Staff want to limit timetabled teaching hours to a maximum of 20 hours a week and to introduce workload bands that would see those staff teaching at higher levels, with large numbers of students, or with more out-of-class assessment, teaching fewer contact hours per week. 800 contact hours a year is very high for tertiary education when you take into account all the admin, assessment lesson planning etc that teachers also have to do.
In response, the employer has offered a 3.2 percent pay increase over 22 months, broken up into two smaller increases, and the introduction of a clause that would enable MIT and individual members to negotiate flexible arrangements as variations to the collective agreement (e.g. IEAs within the CEA). TEU members believe this clause could have a detrimental effect on working conditions, especially on hours of work for new employees and employees in particular areas of teaching such as nursing.
We’re going to see more strikes as the Government’s spending cuts lead to falling real wages, especially at the so-called front line, which National promised to improve.