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Thousands of New Zealand tertiary union members will go on strike at eight universities tomorrow over a cost of living pay demand.

The Tertiary Education Union (TEU) said its members were walking off the job for part of the day at the eight universities in the country.

Union members at Auckland University of Technology initially planned to refuse to enter students’ marks from October 6 to 21, the union said.

However, after the AUT management warned that striking staff would face suspension and loss of pay for two weeks, TEU withdrew the action so that staff would join the Thursday strike instead, a later union statement said today.

The TEU, which has 7000 members, is demanding an 8 percent pay rise needed to keep up with the cost of living.

Each university was negotiating its own collective agreements with the union, but the agreements expired at about the same time enabling a co-ordinated industrial action.

The action announced includes full stoppage between 1pm and 5pm at University of Auckland, University of Waikato and AUT; from 12pm to 4.30pm at Victoria University of Wellington and for shorter periods at three other universities.

There will be rallies at each university and marches and pickets at Waikato and Massey universities.

On its website, the University of Auckland stated it had explained to the unions that it had made an offer that was fair and reasonable and rewarded staff, while retaining fiscal responsibility.

“The university has made a best offer of a 5 percent and 4 percent general revision offer over two years, subject to certain conditions,” the statement said.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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