Griffith U loses staff vote (but only just)

A management plan to reduce COVID0-19 caused involuntary redundancies in return for a freeze on pay rises and temporary cuts to conditions is off

What happened: Professional staff, who are said to expect to cop the most redundancies were decisively in favour of the necessary variation to their enterprise agreement, 66 per cent were in favour, on a 69 per cent turnout. However, 55 per cent of the academics voting (56 per cent of those eligible) were nays.

The university had committed to proceeding only if both groups voted yes. A core part of the proposal was a freeze on pay-rises guaranteed in the enterprise agreements and Vice Chancellor Carolyn Evans says, “It would simply be unfair and inconsistent with Griffith’s values to have one group of staff receiving pay increases while the other did not.”

Where this came from: The National Tertiary Education Union opposed management’s proposal after talks on terms failed. Disagreements are said to have included a union call for a guarantee on no redundancies for the duration of an agreement. (CMM July 28). The NTEU also wanted management to agree to an independent committee, including union representatives to oversight management savings, which Professor Evans will not wear (CMM May 22).

More talks to come: Union and management are still stuck with each other. Professor Evans says the $10m the EA changes would have saved now adds to the other $44m in cuts management must make. “These salary savings will be realised in accordance with the provisions of the current Enterprise Agreements,” she says. This means management will have to consult with staff – and the NTEU.