Watch for a win-win in the west

After Tuesday’s defeat in the Fair Work Commission the National Tertiary Education Union needs a quick win-win in the west. They might get it at Edith Cowan U

Enterprise bargaining negotiations are close to concluding at Edith Cowan where management has offered flat $1400 payments for all staff next January and in January 2021, plus two increases, of 1.5 per cent and 1.6 per cent.

The university has also followed the lead of universities that have already struck deals by agreeing to the union call to extend 17 per cent superannuation to fixed contract staff, who now receive the legislated 9 per cent. The major outstanding matter is conduct and performance matters. In line with other universities ECU management is looking for a simplified system, stripping out the complex codification of procedures the union prefers. However the deal at Deakin U offers a model which may appeal, while review committees are replaced there by an individual acceptable to union and management, the principle of independent review remains (CMM May 16).

The National Tertiary Education Union is unlikely to fight hard on the issue at ECU. On Tuesday, the Fair Work Commission backed Murdoch U, which had applied to cancel the previous enterprise agreement there, which effectively stops the union using the wages and conditions it set as a basis for new negotiations. This was a big loss for the union and it needs to demonstrate it is still capable in WA of securing deals through constructive negotiations.