Enterprise arguing at Victoria U and Uni of Wollongong

Victoria University has banned the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union from communicating with staff who are neither members nor have opted-in to union messages, via the official email system.

In a letter to the union, VU VP People and Culture Shaun Eltham cites 13 emails sent to university staff who are not union members and refers to previous demands that this stop, stating it breaches the VU privacy policy.

The letter follows the decisive rejection of a management proposed, union opposed enterprise agreement. Some 77 per cent of staff voting in the ballot opposed the deal.

Mr Eltham states VU “does not seek to constrain the NTEU from communicating with its members, nor with any staff member who has subscribed to the NTEU to receive communications from the NTEU directly through appropriate means using its own contact lists.”

The university’s last enterprise agreement is silent on e-comms between the union and staff who are not members. However, clause 72.2 states union reps on staff at VU can “post any official notice of the NTEU in each staff room of the university,” which appears to establish a principal for the union communicating to non-members.

The University of Wollongong branch of the union is upset with management telling members they must complete an “industrial relations participation” form and submit it with “the required approvals.”  The form must be “reviewed” by two levels of management.

This, union official Joshua Gava tells Vice Chancellor Paul Wellings, is not on. “Management knows participation in legally protected industrial action is a legislative right. The (Fair Work) Act confers no rights for management to review a staff member’s intended participation nor does it permit management to approve or not approve participation.”

“All this for a two-hour work stoppage, including a common lunch-hour as part of enterprise bargaining,” a UoW observer remarks.

The union demands Professor Wellings withdraw the communication and apologise to staff.


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