University employers secret plan to drive down wages and conditions revealed

As universities continue to negotiate with NTEU members on staff conditions and pay, a leaked strategy road map from The Australian Higher Education Industrial Association (AHEIA)(the employers’ union) has revealed that a number of university senior management may be using a concerted plan to drive down wages and attack conditions of workers in the sector.   
This advice provided by AHEIA is at odds with the needs of university staff and if continued, will result in further pay cuts and a reduction in conditions for staff in many universities.

NTEU General Secretary, Damien Cahill says, “We’ve suspected this was the case, with managements around Australia upending bargaining to put agreements to staff without union endorsement.” 
 “Now the truth has been exposed. We are seeing deliberate tactics to rush staff into accepting offers that don’t give them fair pay rises.”

ACTU secretary Sally McManus accused Mr Watson of, “effectively advising universities to pretend to bargain – to engage in bad faith bargaining as a means of gaming the system to keep wages low. Good faith bargaining is a requirement under law, and I doubt anyone will look kindly upon any employer who adopts strategies to avoid it.”
Several universities have been engaging in negotiations for up to 18 months with the union. This plan confirms that they are deliberately delaying the process to avoid offering staff a fair pay and appropriate conditions.  In some cases, senior university management are offering cash bonuses to staff as a distraction from real pay cuts, which also feeds into this game plan. This has already happened at Curtin, Charles Darwin University, the University of Newcastle and Griffith University.

After two years of over 30,000 jobs lost, and a continued trend of casualisation throughout the sector, union support is more crucial than ever as added protection for academic and professional staff.   
NTEU will continue to work towards improved pay and conditions at all universities through enterprise bargaining and through the support of staff in the sector.

To build support on this issue and get fair pay and conditions, share a statement on your social media channel with the hashtag #betterunis or become a union member here.

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