Twenty-eight Massey Albany staff members gathered outside the main campus entrance in protest of the breakdown in Association of University Staff (AUS) negotiations.The turnout easily bettered a student protest against tertiary debt earlier this year, with staff members bearing pickets with such catch phrases as “You pay peanuts = You get monkeys”, and “NZ universities have enough money. Yeah Right”.
Despite the staff members’ right to strike, many lecturers still decided to take their classes in the interest of their students. Both students and members of the public showed their support by sounding their horns as they passed the protest.
Massey University union branch manager Andrew Cardow says that the pay offer made by Massey’s Vice-Chancellor is unacceptable. Staff were offered a pay increase of 2 per cent. This offer falls short of current inflation rates of 2.8 per cent and is effectively a “pay cut”, something Cardow describes as “an insult to staff members.”
An email from the Vice-Chancellor to union heads stated that Massey values its staff despite the fact they are the lowest paid in the country. The email also detailed the university’s intention to increase their salaries, but did not state any intention to participate in a Multi Employer Collective Agreement (MECA).