Murdoch University is facing widespread criticism for its decision to seek potentially millions in compensation by suing one of its employees, associate professor Gerd Schroeder-Turk. Murdoch has also attempted to remove him from his elected position on the university’s senate.
Staff and employers of the Murdoch University Student Guild have reached an in-principle agreement in the latest round of bargaining after four weeks of negotiations.
Despite the short time frame, the negotiation team for the workers, which constituted an NTEU Industrial Officer and two Murdoch Guild staff members, were able to keep members in the loop throughout the entire process.
Delegates to the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) National Council, the union’s annual conference, condemned Murdoch University and Victoria University managements’ anti-union attacks and called for enterprise agreements to be terminated only where workers and unions agree.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) said the Fair Work Commission’s decision on August 29 to agree to terminate Murdoch University’s enterprise agreement (EA), which covers more than 3000 staff, is extremely disappointing but not unexpected.
The test for terminating an agreement is very low. The agreement must be past its expiry date, negotiations for a replacement agreement must have been unsuccessful, termination must not be against the public interest and it must be considered “appropriate” to do so.
Members and supporters of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) rallied on July 4 outside the WA Fair Work Commission (FWC) in protest against Murdoch University’s application to terminate the union’s enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA).
This move by university management is unprecedented for a large public institution and has been described by the NTEU as “the nuclear option”.
The Western Australian Division of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) released this statement on December 9.
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In a move unprecedented in the Higher Education sector Murdoch University management have applied to the Fair Work Commission to terminate the enterprise agreement covering academic and general staff at the University.
At a packed meeting on November 25, National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at Murdoch University in Perth expressed no confidence in the university bargaining team and called on the Vice Chancellor to intervene in the negotiations.
They voted unanimously to begin industrial action with a stop work between 8.30am and 12.30pm on December 7.
They will be the first university workers in this round of collective bargaining to take industrial action.