To: All TIASA members.
From: Peter Joseph, Chief Executive.
Date: 9 April 2020.
Kia ora whanau,
We hope that you are staying safe (and staying at home) and ensuring that we all do our very best to keep ourselves and each other safe in the fight against COVID-19. It has certainly been an interesting and challenging first two weeks of lockdown for us all!
The swift action by the Tertiary Education Commission Chief Executive Tim Fowler in response to TIASA’s request to Minister Hipkins that he issue a clear statement to tertiary sector staff that they will be paid as normal, appears to have helped clarify this for many allied staff who had received confusing messages from their management about this important point. We are however still receiving a number of queries from TIASA members around this and are dealing with those.
All TIASA collective agreements provide for Easter Tuesday as a paid holiday in addition to those provided by the Holidays Act (i.e. Good Friday and Easter Monday). As many of you will know, a number of tertiary education organisations (TEO’s) have over many years endeavoured to remove Easter Tuesday as a paid holiday, claiming (among other things) that it was a “gold
plated” and “outdated” provision and, that it was “unfair” to those allied staff who were not TIASA members and did not have Easter Tuesday as part of their individual employment agreement. TIASA has staved off all such attempts to remove this condition of employment for our members. So, for absolute clarity, Easter Tuesday IS a paid holiday if you are a TIASA member covered by a TIASA collective employment agreement. Enjoy it!!
Can you be required to take the rest of Easter week as annual leave?
No you cannot. However if you were wanting to take the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as annual leave you can apply to do so. While on annual leave of course you should not be undertaking any work for your institution!!
If you do not wish to take those days as annual leave then you should still continue to be paid as normal and, if you are able, carry out any work requirements whilst working remotely (depending of course on your access to the necessary resources, equipment etc., and also on your job – many roles cannot be performed remotely. If so you must still be paid as per normal).
NZ Council of Trade Unions
The NZCTU has been doing a great job with regular Zoom meetings of all affiliated unions’ leadership, each week. These are extremely helpful and include privileged direct access to Government officials and political leadership. This week’s Zoom meeting that we attended was with three key Ministers – Minister of Finance Grant Robertson; Minister of Workplace Relations & Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister of Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. We are able to raise directly with the relevant Minister, issues being experienced by some workers and their unions, and the actions the Ministers will take to address those. The Ministers also provided us top level briefings on government’s plans for the current period and the future when we merge post-COVID-19.
It is rare to have such top level access and this is being provided to us without restriction, often including sharing confidential information but also very candidly. It is very heartening that government recognises the key role that
unions play by such in direct involvement and access. And that everyone, not just some of us, truly do need to work together to help things work. These regular weekly meetings will continue to include top-level government input from key Ministers and others to help us all work effectively together to overcome COVID-19 and begin to rebuild our country and our economy
The NZCTU leadership are also doing a wonderful job for us all. There is a huge amount going on behind the scenes on a daily basis to ensure NZ workers – present and future – emerge in the best possible shape from the current crisis.
The NZIST inaugural Council meeting was held on 1st April and TIASA attended the public section of that historic meeting by Zoom.
Keeping In Touch
TIASA’s Apiha Whakahaere o Te Hononga (National Executive) have meetings scheduled for every Wednesday (by Zoom) during the lockdown period. There are also weekly update meetings with the TEU. The most recent was this morning.
We have this week met via Zoom conference call with senior HR at four institutes/TEO’s to discuss any issues/concerns and trying to ensure that matters are dealt with at an early stage. Two further such meetings are scheduled for next week.
TIASA National President Shelley Weir will be meeting with TEC Chief Executive Tim Fowler and Deputy Gillian Dudgeon along with TEU national president Michael Gilchrist and the NZ University Students Association national leader on Friday 17th.
Access to Tertiary Education Organisation Sites
The Ministry of Education (MoE) and Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) have issued guidance on access to tertiary education sites during the COVID-19 lockdown, along with an application form that must be completed by any TEO
wanting such access. The application request must be completed by that TEO’s Chief Executive, Vice Chancellor, or equivalent.
If you are requested/required to physically attend your institution/TEO for any reason, please check with TIASA to ensure that it is legitimate under ‘essential services’. See the TEC Update: 3 April 2020: Access to tertiary sites prohibited at
https://www.tec.govt.nz/about-us/covid-19-coronavirus-information/. You will also find a link to the circumstances under which access may be granted, and the application form for permission, here.
If you have any questions regarding the above, please contact us at any of the following:
Email: Peter@tiasa.org.nz; Shelley@tiasa.org.nz; firstname.lastname@example.org
Please look after yourself and your whanau and enjoy the Easter break. Stay safe, stay strong, and , stay at home!!
With much aroha.
On behalf of Apiha Whakahaere o Te Hononga/National Executive
“Big enough to matter – small enough to care”