Outsourcing and Contracting Out
Outsourcing or Contracting-Out ooccurs where the employer decides that work that is being done by its employees is no longer to be done by them but that, instead, the work is to be done by employees of another organisation or by independent contractors.
Perhaps 2000 jobs have been lost in tertiary education through outsourcing over the past fifteen years. Most of these jobs have been in areas such as cleaning and security. However, in recent years, this has extended to mailrooms, information technology services, Language Teaching and even some academic functions.
The usual motive for contracting-out is to reduce costs by cutting employment conditions. There are a number of things the NTEU may be able to do to prevent outsourcing or to protect members' interests if it is going to occur. These could include:
- Legally challenging the outsourcing if members are to lose jobs and the decision is motivated by cutting employee entitlements (this may not always be possible).
- Campaigning against the rationale for the outsourcing, and ensuring that full consultation occurs under relevant managing change provisions of your Enterprise Agreement, if applicable.
- Ensuring that any employees transferred to a new employer do not suffer a loss in conditions of employment.
If you become aware of any proposal for contracting-out, contact your NTEU Branch immediately.