05 Mar Deakin University Enterprise Agreement 2020
More and more WSU students and staff, many of whom come from Sydney`s hardest-hit west and south-west suburbs, are becoming infected with the Delta virus. Vice Chancellor Barney Glover reported last Thursday that the university had been notified of 27 positive cases acquired locally since Aug. 3, bringing the total to 55 domestic students, 36 offshore students and 4 staff members. In a statement to staff last week, Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin announced that the university would not sign ntEU`s Australian Universities Job Protection Framework, citing Deakin`s company agreement, among other things. He assured that the university would instead take a «step-by-step approach to reducing staff». Supporters of the Socialist Equality Party and the Committee for Public Education (CFPE) presented an urgent resolution last Friday at a general assembly of the National Union of Higher Education (NTEU) at the university calling for the formation of rank-and-file committees to fight the intensification of attacks on jobs, wages and working conditions. But NTEU officials delayed postponing the resolution until the last five minutes of the meeting, leaving no time for real debate. In 2020, WSU reported a surplus of nearly $70 million, despite the loss of some revenue for international students due to the pandemic. This was achieved through the cost-cutting «sacrifices» – job cuts, increased class size and increased workload – withdrawn from staff with the help of the NTEU. In other words, as at other universities, the NTEU worked with management to suppress outrage and resistance among university employees by portraying job losses as «voluntary» and concealing the reality of forced resignations and the increased workload of the remaining staff. Adjusted for inflation, as currently projected by the Reserve Bank of Australia, this would be an actual wage cut of more than 2% over the life of the agreement.
And by its own admission, management would have saved $2 million to $3 million over three years by forcing casual teachers to overload grades. «After three years of studying at Deakin and working in peer support for her, I managed to secure an occasional research and writing position that I believe would start my exciting career at the university for many years to come. «That`s why we introduced the resolution. There is an urgent need to mobilize against this two-scale attack. We need to get out of the isolation and isolation imposed by the unions and the anti-strike laws they imposed on us by the collective bargaining regime imposed on us by the Keating Labour government and the unions in the 1990s. Gabriela Zabala, an educator at WSU College, supported the motion, warning, «What is being asked of the college is what is and is being demanded throughout the academic sector.» She said the NTEU uses company negotiations to «suppress resistance to attacks on jobs and working conditions.» Only about 80 members attended the online meeting, which was presented as a report of five bi-monthly «corporate negotiations» between NTEU management and WSU. That`s a small fraction of WSU`s staff, which is more than 3,000 despite hundreds of job cuts last year. According to the National Union of Higher Education (NTEU), the university has cut 432 jobs – including layoffs and non-renewals – in academic and professional staff so far, already exceeding the 400 that are expected to be cut. This figure does not include reductions in occasional and fixed-term contracts, many of which have also not been renewed. National Tertiary Education Union, «All of the major workplace change proposals,» NTEU Deakin University Branch, Facebook, June 3, 2020, accessed June 3. June 2020, <www.facebook.com/nteudeakinbranch/photos/a.1635709666567181/1660295674108580/?type=3&theater The NtEU celebration of management`s "happiness" is typical of the union`s collaboration with employers at all universities across the country.
Institutional figures showed surpluses, even as they intensify their corporate-friendly cuts and restructurings to the detriment of staff and students facing the loss of course options, educators and theses. NtEU`s response to the outcome of the vote was to call for further behind-the-scenes discussions with management, both at WSU College and at the university as a whole, covered by a separate «corporate negotiation» process. In fact, the union proposes to work more closely with management to meet its new demands for cost reduction, while continuing to resist any unified national struggle by university employees and students against the onslaught. Deakin is continuously committed to expanding access to university studies and innovative learning platforms that meet the needs of time-strapped or remote students. By leveraging new technologies, Deakin aims to deliver responsive programs wherever students are geographically located (at home, on campus or at work), wherever they are in their willingness to learn, and wherever they are in their professional career or at the stage of their lives. As if to celebrate the partnership, Burchell said the union section had also «done well in 2020.» He boasted that all layoffs at the WSU were «technically voluntary.» Across Australia, the union is trying to lock university employees into another round of three-year company agreements (EAs). For decades, these have been a tool of trade union action to isolate workers from one workplace to another and enforce pro-company restructuring enforced by strike laws. The resolution, introduced by CFPE members, called for «a united struggle by academic staff and students against the offensive of the government and management, taking advantage of the deepening global COVID-19 catastrophe to accelerate years of transforming universities into increasingly precarious companies and meet the narrow professional and research demands of the corporate elite at the expense of real education. The ongoing pandemic crisis is the result of capitalist efforts to reopen the economy and is not the fault of educators who should not pay for it. «I have been fortunate to be taught by dozens of talented @Deakin staff in several faculties.