Victoria goes it alone on enterprise bargaining (again)

Victoria U is having another go at securing staff support for an enterprise agreement, without union agreement.  Given university management got thumped when it tried this last year this is brave indeed.

Where this came from: Late last year the university’s first proposal went down in a screaming heap, with the National Tertiary Education Union vigorously opposing it and staff voting decisively no. With 54 per cent of eligible VUites voting just 23 per cent supported the offer. While the proposed pay rise, born, management said of tough times, was not popular, VU watchers also pointed to general disquiet over changes to conditions for some teaching staff and the overall impact of the transformative block-teaching model being introduced, (CMM September 25 and September 10).

What’s different: This time the university has come over conciliatory, telling staff the university’s circumstances are getting better and improved terms are possible. DVC Marcia Devlin says savings and increased student demand have lifted VUs finances and management is now offering five pay rises of two per cent over four years. In September, the university offered four rises through to 2021, ranging from 1.4 per cent last year to two per cent in ‘21.

What’s the same: But changes in working conditions remain, probably inevitable given the block-teaching model, which is now looking sufficiently sucsessful to restore the university’s financial situation. Management says it will put the proposal to a vote, February 14-18, and the union says it opposes it. With management going it alone, again, the NTEU is unlikely to roll-over and has called a member meeting for Thursday, urging them “to send VU management (a) stronger message this year.”

“The NTEU will, like last year, wage a strong ‘vote no’ campaign and we encourage all members to become active in this vital campaign to save terms and conditions at VU.” The union has called a member meeting for Thursday.


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