NTEU lodges dispute with Fair Work Australia over staff cuts at the University of Tasmania
The NTEU has lodged an application with Fair Work Australia to deal with a dispute over staff cuts at the University of Tasmania.
On 31 July the University of Tasmania called for expressions of interest in ‘separation packages’ from its professional and academic staff. Rob Binnie, NTEU Industrial Officer for Tasmania, said that the University of Tasmania refuses to divulge the number of staff it plans to cut, where the staff will come from, the amount of money it plans to cut from its operational budget or the budget available for separation packages.
“We are concerned for the staff who will be left behind to pick up the massive workload left by unfilled positions,” Mr Binnie said.
“The NTEU believe that the University of Tasmania has not met its obligations under the professional and academic staff agreements by consulting with the union and staff about managing change in the workplace.
“Our core business is to protect jobs. The NTEU is concerned that the job security of all staff at the University of Tasmania is now under threat. We are calling on the university to come clean to staff, students and the Tasmanian community about how many job losses there will be and the implications this has for the delivery of education in Tasmania.”
Over the past week, the NTEU has been in lengthy discussions with senior university management to solve the industrial dispute over ‘managing change’ but talks have broken down.
Mr Binnie said that the NTEU had no other option other to refer the matter to Fair Work Australia which it did late yesterday (14 August).
Under collective staff agreements, the university is obliged to must provide information about any major workplace change in writing to the NTEU and staff with the following details:
- The nature of the changes proposed;
- The rationale for the proposed changes;
- The expected effects of the changes on employees;
- An outline of the consultation process to be undertaken and a timeframe involved;
- And any other matters likely to involve employees.
The NTEU estimates that the university has spent over $I million engaging consultants, Price Waterhouse Coopers, to review the make-up of its academic and professional workforce at all of its campuses. The university has point blank refused to provide the information requested by the NTEU.
Mr Binnie said that the NTEU and staff must be given the ability to make comments and suggestions about any changes in the workplace.
“In this situation the NTEU would like to work with the university to mitigate any potential job losses and find solutions to any challenges that the university faces. In order to do this, the university must first provide the information it is obligated to furnish under our agreements”, he said.
The University of Tasmania employs around 2600 staff.
For more information, please contact Rob Binnie, NTEU Industrial Officer, Tasmanian Division 0418 241 459.