Union backs down at RMIT

National Tertiary Education Union members had voted not to do voluntary, unpaid, out of hours  work August 5-15th, including open days. Last night the union backed down

It was a protest at management not beginning bargaining for a new enterprise agreement.

In response, lawyers acting for RMIT argued the NTEU “is in the process of organising unprotected industrial action” because the union’s proposed action “fails to evade” the Fair Work Act definition and staff are remunerated for the sorts of work the union specified. The lawyers also contended that staff who attend open days are paid or given time in lieu and for academics open days can be part of their “engagement” work allocation.

They warned, “significant pecuniary penalties may be imposed against the NTEU” for industrial action not protected by the Act.

Last night the NTEU backed down, cancelling “planned actions” and asking members to perform “work as normal” for the ten days in August. In a message to members the RMIT branch states, “it disagrees that the proposed actions would be ‘unprotected industrial action as defined by the Fair Work Act. However, if management was successful in their threatened legal action the effect could put staff and their union at risk.”