Ruth Jelley, current secretary of NTEU University of Melbourne, questions the real stakes of the job cuts proposed by the university and insists that the fundamental principles of public university education be back. Great work of hundreds of occasional members to build solidarity from scratch over a two-year campaign. Countless meetings, rallies, petitions, occupations of the Dean`s office, zoom bombings and finally an apparition in the villa provided by the Vice-Chancellor`s University, Cumnock House. We asked a question: Is such generosity appropriate if casual workers are liable for $6 million in wages? www.megaphone.org.au/…/university-of-melbourne-. staf. University employees were reportedly stripped of a 2.2 percent pay rise introduced in early May as part of proposed changes to their company agreement. On Friday, proud casual unionized employees of the faculty of philosophy affirmed their dignity of work in front of a university management that has for too long treated them as „soft expenses“ and excluded professionally. So we rejected the university`s „last“ offer of additional payment, which would have only briefly changed casual workers and paid only a third of what was due to unpaid wages for six years. We wanted pay equity, plus stolen wages. Branch president Steve Adams says the union rejected a management initiative for separate agreements for academic and professional staff and ended the „withdrawal of academic freedom from the agreement“ (management has long argued that the university expressly protects freedom of expression).
Current company agreement (clauses 2.21.1 and 3.27.1) The union argues that the university has more than enough cash reserves to cope with the financial impact of COVID-19, including a drop in royalty revenues in 2020. The challenge now is to resist attacks on many local fronts. But the campaign against the National Framework for Employment Protection offers a valuable guide to action. While the union leadership`s approach encouraged the university`s leadership, the resistance rejuvenated activism at the base. Core groups have formed throughout the country. For the first time, members become activists and learn how to organize colleagues. It should be noted that the University of West Sydney union has reached a wage reduction agreement with management, again without a member mandate. An hour earlier, a branch was convened, during which members received a copy of the agreement. The industry voted in favour. The desired result was achieved, so that no consultation of members was organized. As NTEU-Fightback activist and NTEU National Councillor Alma Torlakovic said: „Lower wages do not save jobs.
University principals attacked employees in good times, and now they are attacking them in bad times. Support for these agreements indicates that workers are an easy target and that we will pay for a crisis that we did not provoke. Instead, their rejection nullifies the company agreements and tells management and the national and federal governments that they need to make up the shortfall elsewhere. „Supporters of the framework blamed these job losses on those who managed to oppose the framework. This could not be further from the truth. By willingly trying to exchange members` conditions, the union leadership showed weakness, toned down some union members for attacks, and told university leaders that they would not fight to defend the conditions. . . .