Three choices for Murdoch U management

Murdoch University responded to the union challenge for management to put its proposed enterprise agreement to a vote (CMM yesterday) with a wordy  equivalent of “no comment.”

“We remain committed to achieving a new enterprise agreement that delivers certainty and benefits for our staff and which underpins a prosperous future for our university,” a spokesperson says.

With negotiations stalled and not much to talk about with the National Tertiary Education Union bargaining team management has three options. Do nothing other than keep making a case that is as conciliatory as possible. Take the proposed deal to staff. Or hang really tough by acting on the Fair Work Commission’s ruling and canceling terms and conditions of the now expired agreement and move staff to the lower pay/lesser conditions of the award safety net.

The first is the easy option, except that VC Eeva Leinonen is on record as wanting an agreement this year. The second is high-risk, while a win would be a huge defeat for the union at Murdoch a loss would empower the NTEU to argue om forever. The third would utterly alienate the university’s workforce.

This is the stalemate stage where the NTEU federal office could intervene but with deals being done at universities across the country the union’s national leadership is under no pressure to help its perhaps least-favourite university management.


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