Union agrees to talk to Victoria U on savings

Management and the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union have agreed to negotiate for a joint approach to savings which will go to an all staff vote

Terms on the table include partial postponement to 2023 of enterprise agreement pay rises due in 2021 and 2022, five days purchased leave this year and the two following, cancelled leave loadings for three years and a deferral of payments accompanying promotions and progression to 2023.

In return, management would commit to a range of measures, including reducing executives’ salaries and benefits, protecting 90 FTE positions and no forced redundancies unless the target of 100 voluntary separations is not reached.

Management also commits to, “regular independent reviews of our financial situation by an external expert panel.”

Vice Chancellor Peter Dawkins says he hopes to have an agreement to put to all-staff ballot by end September.

This proposal is largely in-line with the Job Protection Framework drawn up four vice chancellors and the NTEU national leadership in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis.

However, it appears securing support of campus unionists for negotiations was a near-run thing. A meeting of some members voted against cooperating with management last month (CMM August 10) and yesterday’s formal vote is said to have been tight, with the barest majority for commencing talks with management. Union dissidents may well mount a grassroots no campaign in the all-staff ballot, as has occurred at campuses across the country.