To: All TIASA members.
From: Peter Joseph, Chief Executive.
Kia ora whanau,
Thanks to the efforts made by our Aotearoa-New Zealand team, and within that, our TIASA Team and all of you, our country is to shortly move to Level 2.
The lockdown, for many, will be coming to an end at midnight tonight, but this doesn’t mean business as usual. While there appears to be a reasonably consistent message from senior management of TEO’s as to what a move to alert Level 2 will look like, some lower level managers in their hurry to return to the workplace are telling staff that things are ‘back to normal’.
The very clear message from government is that while there will be further opening up of activity during Alert Level 2 it isnot “business as usual”.
Specific sets of health control guidelines for Tertiary Education Organisations (TEOs)
Earlier today we forwarded to all Branches for distribution to members the latest Tertiary Provider Bulletin from the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and the Ministry of Education (MoE) – available also at https://www.education.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Further-ePducation/COVID-19-Bulletin/COVID-19-Tertiary-Provider-bulletin-12-5.pdf which contains links to ‘public health measures’ for TEO’s at Level 2.
Key points to note are:
- Physical distancing of two metres should be maintained where people do not know each other and where contact tracing measures and strict hygiene practices are not in place.
- In controlled environments (I.e. those with contact tracing measures and strict hygiene practices) physical distancing of one metre should be maintained where possible.
- Contact tracing information that identifies which students, staff (and any contractors and visitors) have been in a ‘controlled environment’ and at what time, must be kept.
Hand sanitising and regular disinfecting and cleaning of all TEO’s.
What about staff who have existing conditions?
At Alert Level 2, all vulnerable staff, or those caring for/living with vulnerable people, should not be asked to carry out on-site work and should continue to work remotely. You must let your manager know if you are in any of these categories.
If you have any concerns contact us at the email addresses below.
TIASA agrees with those CEO’s who are reminding staff that Alert Level 2 encourages people to play it safe, so that if they can work from home then to continue to do so.
Keeping in Touch
- TIASA’s Apiha Whakahaere continue weekly Zoom meetings to receive updates, discuss any issues, and prepare the way forward. All Apiha Whakahaere members participate. Their participation plus the work of some Apiha Whakahaere members who have taken on various tasks, is invaluable. This week’s meeting is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon (Thursday 14th May).
- NZIST: We now have fortnightly meetings scheduled with NZIST’s leadership. The next is scheduled for tomorrow (14th May). These too are invaluable for information exchanges, communications, updates, etc. TIASA’s CE and National President attend these meetings.
- We continue to have excellent communications/meetings with a number of HR/People and Culture, and other senior management at some TEO’s. This week, that has involved Unitec; MIT; Open Polytechnic and NorthTec, with a meeting scheduled with AUT on Friday. TIASA’s CE is involved with these meetings. In addition to this, we are receiving updates from a number of other TEO’s as to their approach to moving to Level 2.
- CTU National Affiliates’ Zoom meetings have moved from weekly to fortnightly. These also continue to be extremely informative and valuable. Yesterday afternoon’s meeting had invited guests who presented and discussed ‘contact tracing’ and what will be needed to ensure COVID-19 dies out in NZ. TIASA’s CE, National President, National Women’s representative attended this meeting. Various other Apiha Whakahaere members have also been involved at different times alongside TIASA’s CE and/or National President.
- Fortnightly meetings with TEC Chief Executive Tim Fowler, TIASA, MoE, TEU and NZUSA are likewise extremely useful. National President Shelley Weir represents TIASA at these meetings. The next is scheduled for Friday this week.
NorthTec Bargaining Settled!
As 2019 drew to an end, the NorthTec Allied Staff Collective Agreement was the only TIASA collective agreement that hadn’t reached settlement.
Arrangements for reconvening face-to-face in mediation were thwarted when the COVID-19 lockdown was announced. Mediation Services could only offer us ‘mediation via phone’ during lockdown – the alternative was to wait. Both parties agreed to proceed via phone, and while some progress was made, a settlement had not been reached when we adjourned late afternoon on 17th April. The Mediator gave the matter urgency and bargaining reconvened on Wednesday 29th April. Later that afternoon, nearly 10 months after we first met with NorthTec in bargaining, we had a settlement proposal.
A ratification meeting (via Zoom) for our NorthTec members was arranged – appropriately, for Friday 1st May (International Workers’ Day and normally celebrated as TIASA Day). The vote in favour of ratifying the settlement was unanimous.
A huge Thank You and Congratulations! to our NorthTec members for their patience and tremendous support. Our NorthTec Branch Executive and negotiating team were magnificent.
TIASA also thanks the Mediator and NorthTec for their constructive approach to mediation, which resulted in settlement.
Status of TIASA’s Other Collective Agreements
- Three CA’s expire and come up for renewal this year: they are, Manukau Institute of Technology; Ara Institute of Canterbury; and Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.
- A number have just begun the second year of their two-year term, or will do so over the next few months.
- Tai Poutini TIASA members received their 2% increase this week but it is backdated to the effective date of 1st April.
- Otago Polytechnic members were due to receive their 2% increase on 1st May but were paid it from 1st April in error – Congratulations OP on the decision not to seek to recover the overpayment!
- NMIT members received their 2.2% increase on 1st May. There was an issue regarding the date that non-members could receive the increase – this was clarified that it cannot be effective any earlier than 1st August for non-members.
- Unitec; SIT; and Wintec increases occur in June, July and August respectively, and WITT, in October.
- All our other TIASA collectives had increases in January/February this year.
State Services Commission Proposal for Pay Restraint
The State Services Commission have recently released guidance on pay restraint in the state sector. The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) convened a special meeting of all State sector unions to consider the SSC document and our response to it. Richard Wagstaff, President, NZCTU, has following consultation and input from all State sector unions written to Peter Hughes, State Services Commissioner, with our initial response to the proposal.
Our view is that there should be no return to the failed ‘doing more with less’ mindset that has dominated the State sector, including, tertiary education, rather there should be greater investment with more staff capacity and capability throughout the sector. This is ongoing and we will keep you advised.
Budget Day Tomorrow (Thursday 14th May)
As you will all be aware tomorrow is also Budget Day. This will be the third Wellbeing Budget for our current government, who are producing it in the most difficult circumstances for many decades. Tomorrow’s Budget will address the COVID-19 lockdown effects, as well as set out the way forward through the tough times ahead.
We believe that whatever the Budget may contain, it must ensure New Zealand does not return to the low wage, low productivity, high rent, high carbon, high inequality, unsustainable approach of the past. Tomorrow’s Budget is, we hope, the beginning of a pathway to a better future in every respect for us all.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on TV One this afternoon (Wednesday 13th May) was very clear that the Budget will not be ‘business as usual’; that as a result of COVID’s massive global economic shock, the coming months and years will be some of the most challenging we have ever faced, and we will feel the pain. She went on to say “When times are hard you don’t cut. You invest.”
That is a lesson that many of our tertiary sector employers have failed to grasp over a long period of time. But we are hopeful that – given the extraordinary far-reaching impacts of COVID-19 – that approach will now be discarded. To quote the Prime Minster today, “Now is the time to find a better way”.
If you have any questions regarding the above, please contact us at any of the following:
Stay safe, stay strong and, stay on course!
On behalf of Apiha Whakahaere o Te Hononga/National Executive
“Big enough to matter – small enough to care“