Joint email signals union-management partnership at Australia’s Macquarie University
24 May 2018
Despite vocal discontent at a membership meeting last month, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) is pushing ahead with a union-management plan to impose a new “teaching-focused” job classification and cut real wages at Sydney’s Macquarie University.
These are two of the central “strategic” goals of the “interest-based bargaining” being undertaken by the union and the management to strike an enterprise agreement (EA). The deal will enable the university to impose the cost-cutting and restructuring dictated by the federal government’s latest $2.2 billion cuts to university funding nationally.
A joint email circulated last month by the university’s human resources director Nicole Gower and NTEU branch president Alison Barnes, announced “significant progress on the major strategic topic of academic job families.” Gower and Barnes also declared “in principle” agreement on a 2 percent annual pay rise over the four years of the proposed EA.
“Job families” is a scheme to allow management to double the teaching load, from 40 percent of workload to 80 percent, for at least a quarter of the academic staff. The 2 percent wage increases will be below the cost of living rises for family households, driven by soaring utility, transport and housing prices.
The NTEU is proceeding with these measures in spite of opposition at the one and only university-wide meeting held last month for members after many months of backroom talks. The meeting was sparsely-attended, indicating growing disgust with the role of the NTEU and other trade unions in policing decades of worsening conditions.
Younger academics, those already trapped in…