Union digs in at Uni Melbourne

Staff vote on managements saving plan today week opponents are campaigning hard

Vice Chancellor Duncan Maskell’s headline proposal is for staff to give back this year’s 2.2 per cent pay rise, to save the university $30m in return for voluntary separations before redundancies.

But it’s part of a package that the university would take to the Fair Work Commission to amend the enterprise agreement, if staff approved.

And opponents argue that for staff conditions, there is devilment in the details. Law professor Joo-Cheong Tham argues there are five specifics which would leave staff worse off, in a document and here.

University management and National Tertiary Education Management officials are also deep in the IR weeds, arguing over what management wants, and does not, for staff.

At this stage, the university is losing the politics of perceptions. NTEU members on campus voted against the plan last week (CMM May 29), which isn’t good for the university’s case. The union does not speak for a majority of workers at Uni Melbourne but staff will pay attention to its opposition.  Just as they did at Victoria U, where management lost two all-staff votes on enterprise agreements which the local union vocally opposed, (CMM February 20 2019).