Full-day strike at UCOL

23:31, Apr 07 2014

UCOL staff are steering clear of the polytechnic today as protests against the institute's employment tactics continue.

A full-day strike is taking place at the Palmerston North campus where many of UCOL's 220 union members, made up of academic and support staff, have boycotted work.

Staff would not be picketing and have instead planned to stay away from the site.

Today's protest follows months of ongoing industrial action, including strikes, rallies, Wear Red events and public meetings. 

The action has been spurred by a stalemate between UCOL and the Tertiary Education Union over the lack of an across-the-board pay rise this year. The union have asked for 2.5 per cent and have rejected UCOL's other offers of two additional day' paid leave this year, plus salary increases of up to 2 per cent depending on whether additional government funding was given.

TEU branch president, and UCOL nursing lecturer, Tina Smith said this action could still be avoided if UCOL returned to the bargaining and was willing to discuss pay and other employment matters, such as fixed-term contracts.

UCOL spokeswoman Christine Beech has said the polytechnic would do everything it could to minimise disruption for students.''UCOL will remain open ... we expect students to attend classes as scheduled. Many staff will still be at work and will want to work, because 60 per cent of staff are not unionised.''