Greens back uni strikes and call on Hipkins to bring sector to the table

The Green Party is calling on the Minister of Education to bring the tertiary education sector together so we can urgently improve the pay and condition of university staff.

“People who work at our universities contribute so much to our communities; teaching our future teachers, nurses, scientists, engineers, and critical thinkers. It is crucial that we do everything we can to look after them,” says Jan Logie, Green Party spokesperson for workplace relations and safety.

Union members at all eight of Aotearoa’s universities are striking today after being offered such a small pay increase that staff would find it hard to keep up with rising costs and make ends meet. In some cases the lowest paid staff keeping our universities running were offered no pay increase at all. 

“The Green Party stands with university staff striking across the country today. We urge the Minister to ensure pay that keeps pace with the rising cost of putting food on the table, paying the rent, and keeping the house warm. 

“We are also calling on Minister Hipkins to bring union, government officials, and sector leaders together to discuss a way forward. 

“Union members never take the decision to strike lightly. Today’s action - and the eight further days of action planned - has come after months of negotiations that have left staff feeling undervalued. 

“Minister Hipkins can provide a way through by bringing everyone to the table so we can build a truly world-class university sector that not only rewards staff for the contribution they make to our communities - but guarantees students the income support they need to learn,” says Jan Logie.  

The Green Party’s tertiary education spokesperson, Chlöe Swarbrick added:

“Education is a public good. We all benefit when somebody takes on tertiary study, contributes original thought and their skills to our communities, country and world.

“I will be at University of Auckland and AUT today standing alongside our union colleagues who deserve better, especially following two years of COVID where these workers have demonstrated their immense value.

“Consistent research has shown many of the most precarious university staff also happen to be postgrad students, recognised as students in some instances and staff in others, often to their detriment and exploitation.

“This is why I wrote a few weeks ago to the Education and Workforce Select Committee requesting an Inquiry into Post-Grad and Placements at our Universities. That work is progressing, but that does not and should not prevent more immediate solutions to ensure University staff pay and conditions reflect their value,” Chlöe Swarbrick

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