Hot summer of industrial action looms over Macquarie University
NTEU claimed victory in Fair Work Australia yesterday following a negotiated settlement that maintained the legitimacy of the current bans on transmission of results at Macquarie University.
“The University had sought to have the bans suspended and the outcome has maintained the integrity of our bans, and formalises a number of exceptions that were largely already being implemented through the NTEU's exemptions committee process,” said NTEU Macquarie Branch President Cathy Rytmeister.
“Sixty-eight members have been stood down indefinitely by management, for participating in lawful protected industrial action. Yesterday’s FWA proceedings has strengthened our resolve to see this dispute through to a successful outcome,” said Ms Rytmeister.
A record meeting of over 180 staff gathered to hear from NTEU national and state representatives who committed their long-term support to Macquarie staff in their campaign.The following motion was passed, concerning the staggered lifting of some specific bans:
"In relation to the current protected industrial action this General Meeting of the NTEU Macquarie Branch endorses the provision of automatic exemptions as follows:
On 16 December 2010:
1. All graduating students, upon the University advising the relevant academic and/or administrative staff members of the students to whom this applies
2. Fail and Conceded Pass grades in units for which a repeat Summer School offering exists, and for Non-Award students
3. Any special welfare cases recommended by letter from the University Counselling or Medical Service
On 23 December 2010:
4. Fail and Conceded Pass grades of international students
On January 14 2011:
5. Remaining grades of all international students
6. All remaining Fail and Conceded Pass grades
We note that the existing Exemption Committee arrangements continue regardless of the above."
The meeting also resolved to consider widespread action throughout the summer, including disruptions to Information Day at the University on 5 January. A meeting scheduled for next Wednesday 22 Dec will consider a range of further action including strike action and rallies and a campaign to inform the community about Macquarie's approach to industrial relations.
“This dispute has never been about disadvantaging students – it’s about putting maximum pressure on University management to reach agreement on limits on the use of fixed-term employment and casual employment as part of new enterprise agreements,” NTEU National Assistant Secretary, Mr Matthew McGowan said.
“Thirty universities have so far agreed to reinstate these provisions. Macquarie University isn’t so different or unique that its staff deserve inferior job security and conditions to their colleagues elsewhere. Macquarie is risking its reputation, the quality of education delivered, and its ability to attract and retain high quality staff,” said Mr McGowan.
Meanwhile, 80 staff in the Faculty of Science met yesterday to hear from staff representatives about the implications of huge budget cuts and job losses that the University has demanded of the Faculty. Staff discussed planned redundancies and cutbacks to the curriculum in the Faculty, which has had an otherwise healthy financial position, and committed to form a committee of staff to coordinate campaign efforts into the future to fight against a lack of transparency in budget processes and cutbacks to unit offerings in 2011.
NTEU members at Macquarie University will meet again next week to review developments in the dispute.