Members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at Murdoch University have voted to call off industrial action and support a new enterprise agreement with the university.
The agreement was offered as union members were preparing to go on strike on November 20.
Initially, the university had refused a pay rise of more than 4% over the next two years. This would have been well below inflation and effectively a pay cut.
Under the new in-principle agreement, the university is offering a 2.5% pay rise from the last pay period in June 2014, 2.5% in June 2015, and 3% in June 2016. This advance on the original offer clearly shows the threat of industrial action has put the university under pressure.
However, the offer is still below the union’s call for 4% pay rises per year over the next four years.
Vice-Chancellor Richard Higgott sent an email to all staff members in an attempt to pressure union members to call off the strike.
He wrote: “The primary effect of industrial action will be to cause disruption and distress to our students, who are innocent in this dispute.
“It will also, as the NTEU undoubtedly appreciates, affect the reputation of the University in a negative manner. Damage to our reputation by the NTEU’s actions will further hinder our effort to attract students thus making our financial challenges more difficult to remedy.”
The agreement does not finalise enterprise bargaining negotiations, which will continue. Union members will meet on November 26 to discuss ongoing issues with fixed-term contracts.
Negotiations are also continuing at the University of Western Australia where union members will meet on December 5 to review the progress of negotiations and discuss the possibility of running a ballot for protected industrial action.