Pay rise of 1.25pc for UCOL staff

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 12/07/2014

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The drawn-out industrial dispute at UCOL has come to a close, with polytechnic staff pocketing a pay rise this week.

A six-month stalemate between UCOL management and the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) has ended with union negotiators accepting the polytech's offer after consulting staff.

As well as other collective agreements, UCOL promised workers a 1.25 per cent pay rise, which went through on Wednesday, and another 1.25 per cent pay rise next year. The union's ratification ballot showed 94 per cent of surveyed staff agreed to settle.

The polytech's 220-plus unionised workers had taken a range of industrial action including strikes, rallies, Wear Red events and hosting public forums since December.

Branch president Tina Smith said it was a hard-fought campaign.

"Things continue to be tough, and one of the reasons why the bargaining team recommended settlement, while it wasn't everything we wanted, was because we're mindful that staff bear the brunt of a lot of the government decisions not to fund tertiary education appropriately, particularly polytechnics."

UCOL will spend $330,000 to cover the pay rise this year, from restored government funding. It had been reluctant to move on salaries after budgeting on getting $26.5 m from the Tertiary Education Commission - down $2m on the previous year.

However, the commission agreed to restore $1.1m, meaning UCOL had room to move in spending beyond its planned payments.

UCOL spokeswoman Christine Beech said: "As a result of the negotiations and the process, both parties have a better understanding of each other."

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- Manawatu Standard

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