NTEU to strike at UniNewcastle and thinking about at UniCanberra

The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union at the University of Newcastle will strike on Monday week.  Union president Tom Griffith nominates improved job security as a major unsettled issue in enterprise bargaining negotiations.

According to Aspro Griffith, two-thirds of UniNewcastle jobs are casual or contract positions. “Contract work is a means of shifting financial risk from the institution on to individuals. And that risk can be a significant strain on staff. Many of us – professional staff, teachers and academic staff – know from experience how insecure work impacts ours and our families’ lives,” he says.

Aspro Griffith explained it all in an expansive op-ed in yesterday’s Newcastle Herald, which must have cheered management up not at all.

The union’s move follows suggestions last month that UniNewcastle management was preparing to put an offer to staff, without union endorsement. Talks continue but there does not seem any imperative encouraging management to reach agreement with the NTEU.

Last night a university representative said; “the bargaining team has increased meeting frequency in the last month in an effort to resolve outstanding clauses and claims. We would encourage the NTEU to work with us at the bargaining table rather than causing more disruption for our students. … The university is keen to achieve agreement with staff representatives so that benefits and salary increases can be activated for staff as soon as possible.”

Union members at the University of Canberra are considering industrial action with a meeting yesterday, calling on management, “to negotiate seriously to address staff concerns.” The campus branch of the NTEU nominates issues the union has campaigned for across the country, including increased superannuation for casual and fixed-term staff, and local ones, notably job security, including for the 50 new assistant professor positions.


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