UNSW staff launch EB campaign

November 17, 1993

Susan Price, Sydney

On February 21, staff at the University of NSW launched their 2006 enterprise bargaining campaign. The launch, organised by the UNSW branch of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), coincided with the first day of orientation week and the first meeting of the UNSW Council for 2006.

Around 150 staff assembled on the library lawns with a 15-metre "Your Rights at Work" banner laid across the grass and another 12-metre banner hanging from the Law Building. They heard reports on the university management's delaying tactics and proposals to cut staff conditions.

The negotiations begin in an uncertain environment because the UNSW enterprise agreements expire around the time the Work Choices legislation is likely to be enacted. As well, the Higher Education Workplace Reform Requirements (HEWRRs) funding, which is contingent on universities implementing regressive industrial relations reforms, has not yet been allocated by the federal education minister.

The NTEU is arguing for no substantial changes to the current agreement, and claiming a reasonable pay increase and 36 weeks' paid maternity leave to bring UNSW into line with other universities. Management is seeking to use the HEWRRs as cover to strip back conditions and protections.

Meanwhile, staff at the University of Sydney are nearing the completion of their new enterprise agreement, which includes a 14% pay rise from March 2006 to September 2008, and protection of conditions of employment, including 36 weeks' paid maternity leave.

[Susan Price is the acting NTEU branch president at UNSW.]

From Green Left Weekly, March 1, 2006.
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