Last week Murdoch University management offered what it said were “significant adjustments” to its enterprise bargaining offer, including dropping its plan to deal with misconduct under university policy rather than the agreement and giving staff 30-day notice of teaching load (CMM November 2). According to Provost Andrew Taggart then, “this step takes us one step closer to concluding an agreement.”
And one step back, with the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union saying this week that what management wants remains “too onerous”.
“Union members called for tterms and conditions of employment that are broadly comparable to those experienced elsewhere in the university sector,” the NTEU reports. Union negotiators are holding out for “fair disciplinary procedures with sound independent appeal rights,” “meaningful consultation on change management,” and maintenance of academic and professional staff working conditions.
The bargaining teams meet tomorrow. Vice Chancellor Eeva Leinonen wants a deal by Christmas. This does not seem assured given the hard-lines both sides have taken in a long dispute, which has become a proxy dispute over employment conditions across the university system between the national union and the Australian Higher Education Industrial Association. But then again a week back a deal at James Cook U seemed equally unlikely.