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Workload victory for Victoria University

Posted 30 April 2010 by (NTEU National Office)

NTEU Wins on Workloads

No changes to Agreement terms after Access Period starts

A decision of Fair Work Australia (FWA) today determined that a clause in the Victoria University (Academic and General Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2009 requiring the University to maintain the “current” academic workloads model referred to the workloads model in place at the commencement of the access period, and could not include subsequent changes made prior to the new Agreement coming into force. "To find otherwise would accept that after an agreement was circulated to employees and after it was voted on by employees, it could be varied by the employer", Commissioner Gooley found (at [57]).

Commissioner Gooley ordered Victoria University to allocate and measure academic workloads in a manner consisted with the model as it existed at the commencement of the access period for the making of the 2009 Agreement.  This effectively reverses controversial changes to the workloads model imposed by the University in January this year, after the agreement had been voted on but before it was approved by FWA.

NTEU Victorian Secretary, Matthew McGowan, described the decision as a breakthrough.  “The decision confirms that the University must abide by the agreement it struck with staff last year, and not change workload allocation practices without negotiating those changes with the NTEU.  Many staff have suffered under the unilateral changes imposed by management in January, and the news that there will be workload relief in second semester is being celebrated across the University”, he said.

"NTEU has approached University management to commence negotiations for the next Collective Agreement.  The Union hopes that this decision will clear the way for those negotiations to begin in earnest."

Contacts:

Matthew McGowan:  NTEU Victorian Division Secretary 0417 054 110

Linda Gale:  NTEU Senior Industrial Officer 0414 857 392

Link to decision:

http://www.fwa.gov.au/decisionssigned/html/2010fwa3299.htm

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