University union sets new membership union

The National Tertiary Education Union had a good year, with its annual report showing membership at an all-time high. Assistant National Secretary Matthew McGowan states there are 28 000 people are on the books, up on the previous peak of 27 500 in 2014. Mr McGowan attributes a surge in membership to university workers responding to the Fair Work Commission to cancel conditions set by the expired enterprise agreement at Murdoch University and “bargaining struggles at the University of Sydney.”

While relations with three of the four WA public universities have improved, the union also describes an “exceptionally tough” start to the present round of enterprise bargaining, with the WA public universities declaring, they wanted “to break the union’s industry and enterprise bargain” and taking “a no compromise position on all key issues.” This accounts for the $870k the union spent on legal costs the union spent unsuccessfully fighting Murdoch University in the Fair Work Commission. The FWC agreed to Murdoch’s application to end the application of wages and conditions in its expired enterprise agreement. The union reports a marginal loss of $63k on revenues of $21.7m


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