Curtin U staff vote to keep their pay rise

Staff reject a proposal to forgo a wage increase which management said would protect 90 jobs

The vote was 55 per cent against, with 56 per cent eligible employees turning-out. The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union campaigned hard against the proposal calling it “opportunistic over-reach.”

The enterprise agreement variation management called for was part of plan to save $41m in staff costs, by far the largest component of cuts Curtin U management says it needs to make up $45m in COVID-19 caused losses. The university said foregoing the pay rise would quarantine 90 jobs. However, it would have left $30m still to be found and management told staff, there would be voluntary redundancies, “before other initiatives impacting staff numbers are implemented,” (CMM September 2).

The NTEU responded management could use reserves, cancel capital expenditure and reduce margin before calling on staff to take a hit.

“The majority rejection of the university’s proposal to freeze salaries sends an important message that staff are not convinced of the necessity to give up a pay increase in order to preserve jobs, and value the quality education you deliver, over protecting investment reserves and a profit at any cost, the union stated Saturday.

Vice Chancellor John Cordery responded to the vote with a warning, that, “the task of trying to deal with the financial challenges thrown up by the COVID-19 pandemic has become more difficult.”