The Fair Work Commission says management must consult on job cuts university-wide not by operating units
University management proposes reducing staff by 300 and not filling 100 vacant positions and had been talking to staff in each of 15 effected operating units (July 6,9).
The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union, argued the separate consultations are part of one plan, that consultation should occur at a whole of university level and without such management is in breach of the change management requirements of Deakin U’s enterprise agreement.
The Fair Work Commission agrees. Yesterday Commissioner Bissett said the university, “should embark on consultation with the NTEU and affected staff at the university-wide level.”
“I am satisfied that the 15 … proposals all arise from one issue and one decision of the university – that is, how to contain costs in the COVID-19 environment where income for the university is adversely affected. The proposal put out by the university is a single proposal broken down into convenient portfolios within the university but done in such a way that there is, realistically, no opportunity for meaningful consultation on the overarching aspects of the proposal – the number of positions lost, how to manage vacancies, how to manage staffing reductions and so on.”
This decision will give the union the chance to argue that management’s proposed staff reductions are not the only way Deakin U can deal with its COVID-19 revenue loss.