Australian university union pushes sellout deals across the country
30 September 2017
Australia’s main university trade union, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) convened what it termed an “unprecedented national briefing to all university staff” last Tuesday.
The stated purpose of the on-line presentation was to discuss the implications of last month’s Fair Work Commission decision to terminate the current union-employer enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) at Perth’s Murdoch University.
Although that ruling ended the old EBA, it effectively extended its provisions for six months, to allow the NTEU to negotiate a new agreement that would deliver to management the cost-cutting it is demanding.
During the event, the NTEU blocked all debate, concerned, above all, about the presence of supporters of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP), who were calling for a unified struggle of university workers across the country against the Turnbull Coalition government’s latest multi-billion dollar funding cuts, and similar attacks imposed over the past four decades.
Those arriving at the briefing were issued with an official NTEU motion. Under the guise of calling for solidarity with the Murdoch employees, the resolution insisted that the only means of defending them from deep cuts to pay and basic conditions was to “negotiate and expedite” EBAs with individual universities throughout Australia.
This is a fraud on two levels. First of all, separate EBAs will only isolate the Murdoch workers by outlawing any industrial action on their behalf at other universities. Secondly, such deals are designed to parallel the kind of attacks on jobs, wages and basic conditions that the Murdoch management is pushing for, thus delivering the sweeping…