Enterprise bargaining on the couch at Macquarie U

 In happy circumstances rarely seen since Friends finished on TV, management and union at Macquarie University are comfortable on the couch, talking enterprise bargaining. The parties are using a Fair Work Commission programme which involves both sides searching for common ground rather than the other’s throat (CMM January 29).

Not all at Macquarie agree, with some National Tertiary Education Union members fearing management will use consensus instead of confrontation to gull academics into accepting workload increases. But veteran observers of MU life say the open-process is giving management insights into how much work staff already do and that the process is not as combative as usual. So far – negotiations aren’t at pay stageyet.

Nor is the union so confident about the process to use it for all staff. Negotiations for the professional staff agreement will use the traditional ordeal by argument approach.


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