Last-minute talks may avert UCOL strike

Industrial action at UCOL could be canned if last-minute negotiations pan out.

More than 220 UCOL workers across the North Island are planning to strike for the second time this year on Tuesday, with action likely to affect students.

But that could change depending on the outcome of eleventh-hour employment negotiations between the Tertiary Education Union and UCOL.

Both parties have agreed to enter into discussions on Monday, the day before a scheduled strike, in an effort to avert industrial action.

UCOL academic and support staff have said they planned to picket outside the polytechnic's campuses in Palmerston North, Whanganui and Masterton next week to call for "fair pay".

The union is calling for UCOL to "step up" and offer a pay rise for the sake of students, staff and the community - the union would then call off planned industrial action.

UCOL has said there would be no across-the-board pay rise this year because of well-documented funding cuts, but the union wanted a 2.5 per cent pay rise.

The union's action has so far included striking, two Wear Red events and handing out pamphlets and stickers.

Union deputy secretary Nanette Cormack said negotiation claims included a pay rise, confirmed terms of agreement, professional development and general staff getting annual increases to reflect their experience and value.

Manawatu Standard