AUT fined, told to restart redundancy process

Fri, Jan 20

Auckland University of Technology (AUT) has been fined and asked to start redundancies from scratch following a decision by the Employment Court.

AUT will be fined $3000 for breaching a compliance order laid by the Employment Relations Authority and will likely have to restart issuing redundancies through the collective agreement.

The decision comes after a long battle between the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) and AUT following the announcement that 170 academic positions would be cut to lower costs.

Voluntary redundancies were offered, with 90 accepting, leaving 80 to be cut.

The TEU took AUT to the Employment Relations Authority as they didn’t identify what the "surplus" positions were.

AUT was told to identify positions that could be determined as surplus before applying selection criteria; the Authority found AUT didn't do this and said they should "be asked to go back and follow the collective agreement correctly".

The TEU took the issue to the Employment Court after the university failed to comply with the order set previously - winning the case.

Judge Kerry Smith said in his decision that the order was breached.

The TEU has called it a "significant victory" - sending a clear message "that there are consequences for not abiding by the terms of a collective agreement".

"As has been clear from the media coverage, AUT has caused distress to its students and damage to its own reputation through the poor way it has treated staff," said union organiser Jill Jones.

"This was completely unnecessary, and it would not have happened if AUT had simply followed the collective agreement and listened to our members in the first place."


More Stories