NTEU lifts results bans, continues industrial campaign
Members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) voted on January 13 to lift their ban on the transmission of student results.
More than 40 staff members who took part in the lawful industrial action had been stood down without pay for nearly eight weeks.
The decision to lift the ban followed concerns over attempts by university management to release unauthorised student results.
A statement by the NTEU UNSW branch president Sarah Gregson said the union “strongly suspected that students were graduated without confirmation that they had fulfilled the requirements of the degree to a satisfactory standard.”
NTEU members voted to submit student marks to ensure the integrity of the academic assessment process, but vowed to re-launch their campaign in the upcoming semester for a new enterprise agreement for academic staff.
The key sticking point in the dispute, which has been dragging on for nearly two years, is management’s refusal to roll back the unregulated use of fixed-term contracts and casual employment at the university.
The union is also seeking agreement on rates of pay, a maximum workload, improvements to paid parental leave and Indigenous employment targets.
The NTEU said staff were simply demanding conditions similar to those agreed at 32 other Australian universities.
Gregson said there was “little substance” to claims UNSW vice chancellor Fred Hilmer was willing to restart intensive negotiations with the NTEU.
On February 9, The Australian reported that Hilmer wants “full discretion” over employment at the university.
To kick off the campaign in 2011, the NTEU has called a protest outside the next UNSW Council meeting on February 21.
Gregson said the union is planning further action over the coming semester to support its enterprise bargaining claims “that will likely involve strikes, marks bans and protests”.
At Macquarie University, 18-month "on again, off again" enterprise bargaining negotiations have stalled and the union has called a four-day strike starting on February 28.
Macquarie University NTEU branch president Cathy Rytmeister said: “Staff are demanding a resolution of bargaining that includes a decent pay offer from management and restoration of conditions taken away under the Howard government.”
The union has also expressed concerns over alleged attempts by Macquarie University management to censor NTEU members’ blog posts and its refusal to allow the union to operate a stall during Orientation Week.