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Source: Te Pukenga

Over 1500 employees at Ara Institute of Canterbury received an offer of employment letter today to
join Te Pūkenga, in preparation for the tertiary institution’s legal transition on 1 November, 2022. 
Staff have been invited to sign and return the letter to move their current salary, leave entitlements,
benefits and conditions of work onto a new employment contract with Te Pūkenga. 
This ‘lift and shift’ process is about managing the transition to Te Pūkenga well and in a careful,
reassuring way, says Darren Mitchell, Chief Executive of Ara. “We want to make sure we transition
safely and give employees time to consider their employment contracts before the formal
disestablishment of Ara,” he says. 
“All existing entitlements will be protected and maintained, so we see this as a step that necessarily
precedes the transition to becoming a business unit of Te Pūkenga. It’s just about looking after our
people and ensuring their continuity of employment as we become part of the new national
Ara’s largest union, Ara Academic Staff of Canterbury (AASC) President Warwick Shillito says
that Ara People and Culture Division has kept the union well-informed about the process. Advice was
sought from the union’s legal counsel. “Her feedback,” says Shillito, “assures us that there is nothing
for our members to be concerned about. Our advice is to sign the letter for continuity and to stay
engaged in the process of transitioning to Te Pūkenga,” he says. 
Tertiary Education Union, the dominant union for Te Pūkenga, expressed a similar sentiment
through Branch President Jo McLean. “The shift to the new employer is not unexpected,” she says,
“and the TEU have worked with Te Pukenga to ensure that members current terms, conditions and
service are not impacted as a result of the change in employer. Members can remain confident that
they continue to be covered by the Collective Agreement.” 
All staff, including those on part-time, fixed term, and casual contracts, have one week to seek legal,
union, or other advice and return the signed letter. Business Partners for each department are on
hand to answer questions about individual contractual circumstances. Managers are in
communication with team members who are on leave or require extra support. Printing and
administrative support is available to all staff for the return of the signed letters. 
Mitchell says “we’re very pleased to reassure all of our colleagues that they are able to transition to
Te Pūkenga and maintain their same terms and conditions of employment.