Uni rejects job protection framework

VC Craven says it is wrong for ACU

ACU’s not in: Australian Catholic University was first to reject the Job Protection Framework, the deal to reduce wages and conditions in return for protecting jobs. The deal was negotiated between the National Tertiary Education Union and a small group of VCs (CMM, Tuesday and Wednesday).

Not for us, says VC: “Such deals are being pushed by and designed for institutions facing vastly worse circumstances than ACU, with high enrolments of overseas students, and losses of hundreds of millions of dollars,” Vice Chancellor Greg Craven told staff yesterday.

And there’s another reason: Professor Craven added the deal included oversight by a committee of university-system and union appointees and ACU rejected “surrendering control of our response to the COVID-19 crisis to an external body. This is completely inconsistent with the legal and other responsibilities of the university senate.”

They will do it his way: He added that COVID-19 means ACU, “will have to deal with some significant financial constraints (and) inevitably, this will involve pain,” however, the university is “in a relatively good position compared to most (and) intends to mould its own response, carefully considering institutional interests and staff.”

Not a great start for the deal: ACU is a member of the Australian Higher Education Industrial Association. It’s president, Andrew Vann (Charles Sturt U) led the group of VCs which negotiated with the NTEU.

ACU’s announcement followed a cautious statement from Murdoch U late Wednesday, which stated, “we are closely reviewing the detail and that management would advise staff, “of our position in due course.” Murdoch U VC Eeva Leinonen is vice president of AHEIA.

The ACU union isn’t happy: NTEU branch president Leah Kauffmann responded robustly to Professor Craven yesterday, rejecting his views of the “intention and potential of the Jobs Protection Framework.”

The NTEU, without hesitation seeks to prioritise the well-being and security of university jobs and conditions and the Jobs Protection Framework is proposed to achieve this,” she says.