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Reclaim Vic members are upset that VUW staff have been removing their posters from various locations around Kelburn Campus.
The posters featured a photograph of Vice-Chancellor Grant Guilford alongside the text, “Grant Guilford, Vice-Chancellor, earns $520,000~ a year. Some staff at Victoria are on minimum wage $15.25 or $29,000 a year. Grand Guilford makes minimum wage every four and a half minutes. Are these Victoria’s Values?”
The major drop of posters, which saw 200 pinned to public notice boards around campus, were removed within hours.
According to a university spokesperson, the posters should only have been removed if they were “not posted in the correct places—i.e. poster boards.”
Despite Reclaim Vic’s posters abiding by this rule the posters were still removed by VUW staff.
When asked what it would take for the university to increase wages of those currently earning minimum wage, the aforementioned spokesperson chose to not directly answer the questions, instead telling Salient, “Victoria sets staff wage and salary rates based on a number of factors, including the nature and type of work undertaken, prevailing labour market wage and salary movement, the need to retain staff and reward good performance and affordability.”
Reclaim Vic member and Masters student Joshua James said the posters were put up to “show university management that students need to know of the inequalities that exist in the university.”
“I don’t care if he gets paid that much, as long as the people at the bottom have enough to live,” he added.
Reclaim Vic are a group of students who are “concerned with the state of tertiary education in New Zealand.” They believe “tertiary education should be free, and that staff who support, teach, and clean up after us, should be paid fair and decent wages.”
James said the group would be “back at it” this week, distributing leaflets, postering, and making their voices heard.
The removal of posters comes just two weeks after the Living Wage Movement’s quiz night at The Hunter Lounge, which saw a number of university staff members from Campus Care, cleaning services, and the library speak on the hardships they face being on minimum wage.
Reclaim Vic will be hosting a public meeting at 4.15pm Thursday in Murphy’s Level Six annex (just outside MY632).