Going nowhere at RMIT

Union and management don’t like each other’s enterprise bargaining proposals

Enterprise bargaining at RMIT started in June and has gone as far as nowhere. “While discussions with management have been amicable there has been very little actual progress,” says the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union.

The comrades complain the university particularly does not want to talk about writing rostered days off and flexible work arrangements for professional staff into the new agreement. The union argues they must both be codified, because leaving flex-time up to negotiations between individual staffers and superiors leaves management with “too much discretion to knock back staff requests.”

But if management does not want to talk about formalising flex work the union says it is “very leery” of the university’s proposals for flexibilities in working conditions, “which tend to further corrode the already wobbly 36-hour week staff are paid for … What starts out as an individual flexibility over time becomes an expectation for everyone.”

The union also wants continuing contracts for casual academics who are course coordinators. However, there is no mention of improved superannuation for casual staff, which looks like a lost cause, not making the cut in any agreement negotiated so far.

Union members will meet on Thursday to discuss progress, or its absence.