1200 staff from the University of Auckland are stopping work today – calling on the Vice-Chancellor to offer union members a fair and equitable increase in pay.
We’re really supportive of this effort and the work that the Tertiary Education Union are doing to expand the number of people who are paid a living wage.
A big part of this push is to address the real challenges for junior staff, many of whom are struggling to afford housing amongst Auckland’s housing crisis. It’s a popular myth that academic staff are all paid well; in reality, work in universities can be incredibly precarious and job opportunities are slim.
At Auckland University, the pay gap between lower and higher paid staff has gotten worse over the past two decades, at the same time as living costs have increased.
And the issue is not restricted to Auckland, at many tertiary institutes hardworking staff are not paid enough to meet living costs This includes cleaners, library staff, tutors and food workers.
Everyone benefits when people are paid fairly, so it’s great to see Auckland University students getting behind this strike.
The issue is bigger than Auckland though. Universities have suffered real-term funding cuts under National so students are paying more in fees and staff are receiving less. We need leadership from Government and employers and everyone else to ensure that the living wage stops being a distant dream and starts being a reality.