The University regrets any inconvenience caused to our students by today's industrial action by members of the AUT.
The impact of this one-day strike will, we believe, be minimal, but should more serious disruption be threatened in future, the University will do everything in its power to safeguard the interests of students.
This is a national industrial issue, involving national collective pay bargaining. AUT is dissatisfied at a national level with progress towards a pay settlement, which is due in August 2006. It has balloted its members, and they have supported both strike action and other action short of a strike, which means that the action today is legal.
In these circumstances, it is a matter of conscience for each lecturer whether to support the strike and/or any follow-up action arising from the dispute. A lecturer who has decided to take industrial action is not obliged to say so in advance, but it is a courtesy and, I believe, a matter of professional responsibility for those doing so to let students know. I am pleased therefore that our local AUT branch has urged staff to ensure that their students are informed of any class cancellations in advance.
We believe that we could come to a satisfactory agreement with our own staff if it were only a matter of collegial decision-making within the University. But both sides are caught up in a dispute that can only be resolved nationally. In relation to this particular industrial dispute, our view is that academic professionals deserve a significant pay increase, and we are certainly not opposing a settlement providing for one.
The University will keep students informed of any significant developments.
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