Wages static despite surplus
Whitireia Polytechnic had an excellent year in 2010, according to chairman Roger Sowry, but the staff’s union does not agree.
In the 2010 annual report Mr Sowry said that, despite a cap on funding for domestic study, international enrolments had lifted the total roll by 8 per cent and the polytech had a $3.77 million surplus.
However, Tertiary Education Union national secretary Sharn Riggs said much of the surplus was attributable to lack of pay increases since the staff collective contract expired in March 2009.
Also, Ms Riggs said, the staff were having to deal with increasing student- teacher ratios.
Wages and other staff costs amounted to $27.628 million of Whitireia’s spending.
‘‘The goodwill from our members is immense and I think if that we quantified it, that surplus would disappear pretty damn quickly.’’
Whitireia’s tutors are teaching more students.
‘‘Dealing with higher staff ratios without any pay increase starts to wear a bit thin,’’ she said.
Despite the lack of pay increases the polytech’s other expenses are rising sharply, she said. The bill for consultants’ services was up from $ 284,000 to $336,000, and travel and accommodation costs were up 13 per cent.
Total board members fees rose from $59,000 to $105,000, despite there being three fewer board members, and five of the board, including the chair, were shared with Weltec.
‘‘We’ve got a smaller council but they are being paid almost twice as much as the previous council,’’ she said.
Polytechnic chairman Roger Sowry said the unresolved contract negotiations, and the potential backpay because of it, do no impact on the surplus.
‘‘No, there is no contingent liability because there is no agreement,’’ he said.
Mr Sowry declined to comment further while the contract negotiations were continuing.
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