NTEU notifies a dispute over cuts to La Trobe Humanities and Social Sciences
NTEU has notified an industrial dispute regarding a number of consultation failures throughout the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences restructure process. In particular, there are serious concerns around workload impacts and new impacts upon regional programs and jobs which have not been properly scoped.
The failure of the University to provide organisational charts has made it difficult for people to identify whether or not they are affected by proposed changes. The Branch has also received complaints from members about lack of detail about how their concerns were taken into account, and situations where there has been an obvious misunderstanding of their issues.
With the release of the second organisational change impact statement (OCIS-2) a large number of additional staff on regional campuses are now affected by the change. Members from the regional campuses are angry and shocked by this development, which includes the unexpected closure of Politics on regional campuses and risks to cross-Faculty programs.
Management only allowed one week for newly affected staff to be consulted which has made it impossible for union representatives to meet with members to fully canvass their views on the additional changes, especially on the regional campuses.
The University’s response regarding the impact upon workloads is completely unsatisfactory, especially in relation to History, and also Sociology, which are slated to lose around 40% of their staff. This is an issue that NTEU representatives have raised from the earliest stages of the consultations.
Management’s response about workload impacts has been little more than a statement that consolidation of curriculum and a minor increase in professional staff will reduce workloads. This clearly lacks detail to assess potential workload impacts and our members are deeply concerned about how the cuts will effect their ability to undertake the full range of academic duties, including research.
Management's failure to provide complete information around the impacts of the proposed changes to the Faculty and the lack of sufficient time for people to consider those impacts outlined in OCIS-2 means that the University has not met its collective agreement consultation obligations.
NTEU has asked for the Expression of Interest process outlined in the restructure documentation to be put on hold while this dispute is underway. Given that no positions are due to be made redundant until 31 December 2012 there will be no detriment to the financial position of the University in ensuring that there is sufficient time for these major issues be addressed.
The first Dispute Resolution Committee meeting will be held on Tuesday 21 August at 9:30am. If there is no resolution NTEU will take the matter to Fair Work Australia for conciliation, and if necessary, arbitration.
Please let us know your views on the consultation process by emailing: email@example.com .
NTEU disputes that La Trobe University has provided sufficient information to enable staff to determine how they will be impacted by changes outlined in the Humanities and Social Sciences restructure documentation.
La Trobe University has rejected the request to provide further consultation information and has agreed to convene a disputes committee with NTEU.
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Phone: 03 8344 6828
Branch Industrial Organiser