Given the results achieved in universities across the country, it seems possible to reach an agreement with the national leadership of the NTEU by applying its framework for labour protection. The problem is that a meeting of vu union members voted on Friday against any agreement limiting conditions and halting wage increases (CMM 10 August). These agreements generally form the basis of agreements on occupational health and safety. Vice-Chancellor Peter Dawkins warned university staff yesterday that the VU will need to reduce “about 190 FTEs” over the next 18 months to repair COVID-19. But employees who accept an “enterprise agreement” could reduce the reduction to “no more than 100 FTEs,” which “will hopefully be possible through a voluntary separation program and other balanced employment-related reductions.” Instead, THE VU management proposes an agreement that would decouple the NTEU, remove the important terms of the agreement and let them into the “policy”, which would mean a real reduction in wages. A non-union vote in September 2018 was overwhelmingly rejected (77% voted no). Negotiations were suspended by the university just before Christmas, and in early February, staff were confronted with “yes” propaganda from management. A second non-union vote was called the following week. La VU management has been aggressively following a trade union agreement for almost 12 months. They tore up the existing trade union agreement and, if successful, their proposals would reduce the conditions for university staff in areas such as consultation and the possibility of challenging dismissal to a minimum of fair work.
Professor Dawkins did not explain what should vary within the EA, but last week he mentioned discussions with the National Tertiary Education Union on a framework for occupational health and safety. (CMM 6 August). He said yesterday: “I will let you know as soon as possible, if we think that a change in the enterprise agreement will be possible.” Ms. TIERNEY (Minister of Training and Qualifications) – I thank the Member for his question and for his continued interest in Victoria University. As the member would know, the labour relations issues that are dealt with at the university are the province of the university, and the Victorian government`s labour relations policy does not cover the university as such.