University of New England management wants to cancel conditions by stealth, according to the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union. In two papers the union accuses UNE of wanting to negotiate aspects of its enterprise agreement from scratch, ignoring existing conditions. This, the NTEU claims, is a variation on the strategy Murdoch University tried last year, to apply the base-line conditions, particularly on pay in the industry award in place of the more generous ones in an expired university agreement. The university won permission to do this from the Fair Work Commission but did not proceed.
The UNE union says management is “doing a Murdoch” on issues including, grievance and misconduct procedures, academic workloads and promotions.
“The logic of what Murdoch management did on a grand and expensive scale or what UNE management is potentially attempting to do on the cheap is that the union movement has wasted its time in the past bargaining for decent conditions. We should not have bothered to press for improvements in working conditions because every bargaining round is, from this view, a chance to destroy past gains and start again.”
Good-o, but UNE wanting to end existing clauses is a bit short of a plan to cut people’s pay.