NTEU open letter to DVC Hickman re bargaining and results bans
Dear DVC Hickman
You claim in your recent communication with staff that you wish to find an acceptable compromise to the current dispute which has involved a ban on transmission of results.
But at the last meeting to discuss Enterprise Bargaining, you and Elizabeth Harman’s management team rejected the solution put forward by the President of the VU NTEU Branch Richard Gough and the State Secretary of the NTEU, Mathew McGowan..
The NTEU agreed to withdraw all industrial action if VU management agreed to an increase in pay comparable to other universities in 2010, in line with what had been agreed n the Heads of Agreement signed by VU Management and the NTEU last year.
It was put to your management team that it was unreasonable for you not to give this pay rise given that every other University in Victoria will give an increase of at least 4% this year. Moreover the NTEU explained to you if the University did not provide a pay rise this year it would seriously damage the reputation of the University because staff at VU would become the lowest payed in the country.
The NTEU said it was serious about resolving the current dispute and wanted to negotiate a solution.
Your lead negotiators told the NTEU that, despite previous commitments given on salaries, the University would not discuss salaries until other matters were dealt with. However, they could not discuss what other things needed to be dealt with because they had not considered our proposals and had not finalised their own “agenda” for bargaining.
Not surprisingly, NTEU said you were not treating the current dispute seriously if you had not even got your act together– despite taking more than six months to prepare for the meeting.
After the wreckage and pain which has been meted out against VU staff over the last six years since the beginning of this Vice Chancellor’s tenure, indeed your response showed great contempt for the general and academic staff of the University who you seem to think should now be the lowest paid in the entire sector as well having some of the worst workloads.
The NTEU gave you a log of claims and a full draft agreement three months ago, in April.
You say you wish to reach a compromise with the NTEU: you will reinstate the staff who have been stood down if the NTEU agrees to release all fail results. This is no compromise at all. In effect, you are asking for the bans to be lifted, because once all fail results have been identified, then by simple logic, all remaining students will be known to have passed. If the bans were lifted, then of course you would be required by law to reinstate the staff who have been stood down. You are, in effect, offering to obey the law if the Union lifts the bans.
Not only is your offer disingenuous but you are continuing to deny VU staff wage justice and a fair deal. You seem unable to treat VU staff with the same degree of fairness as any other University worker in the sector.
It is the Union that has offered a real compromise. We will lift the bans if the University honours its 2009 signed commitment to pay a wage rise in 2010. The University should embrace this compromise and, in the words of our would-be Prime Minister, “move forward”.
The NTEU remains ready to settle this dispute at any time. It is waiting for VU management to come to the table with a genuine willingness to compromise.
VU NTEU Branch