All quiet-ish on the western front as union says Fair Work law must change

The National Tertiary Education Union is maintaining the rage at Murdoch U following the university’s huge win in the Fair Work Commission, which agreed to cancel the application of the last enterprise agreement. There was a Murdoch U stop-work on Thursday and union general secretary Grahame McCulloch travelled to WA to lead loyalists in expressing outrage. “The Fair Work Commission rules are unfair, broken and need to be changed,” he said.

The Labor and Greens senators who control the Senate Education and Employment References Committee, agree. Their report last week on Corporate Avoidance of the Far Work Act recommends amending it to; “prevent the FWC from terminating an agreement where workers would be worse off as a result of the termination. This would have the effect of protecting the living standards of workers as the parties go about the task of negotiating a new collective agreement. Failing to do so will allow further erosion of the collective bargaining process and expose workers to significant vulnerability.”

Labor shadow for employment and workplace relations Brendan O’Connor has already committed to do something about this. After the Murdoch decision Mr O’Connor said that in government, “Labor will change the law. We will limit capacity to terminate agreements, in order to redress the imbalance in bargaining power between workers, their unions.”

Good-oh, but if the NTEU is to stop any universities following Murdoch it cannot wait that long and will surely have to appeal.