The university says they aimed to avoid between 200 and 300 forced layoffs. NTEU activist and NTEU national councillor Alma Torlakovic said: “Wage cuts do not save jobs. The management of the university attacked the employees in the good times, and now they are attacking them in the wrong. The support of these agreements indicates that workers are an easy target and that we will pay for a crisis that we have not caused. They reject them by protecting enterprise agreements and protecting enterprise agreements and by telling the federal state and the federal states that they must make up for the deficit elsewhere. Senior managers will continue to plan for the university`s turnaround. The challenge now is to resist attacks on many local fronts. But the campaign against the national framework for labour protection offers a valuable guide to action. While the approach of the union leadership has encouraged the management of the university, the opposition to it has rejuvenated the rank and activism of the files. Ranking and file groups have formed across the country. Members become activists for the first time and learn how to organize collaborators. At The University of Western Sydney, the union entered into a pay reduction agreement with management, again without a member mandate. An hour earlier, a branch meeting was convened before a copy of the agreement was given to members.
The industry voted for it. The desired result was achieved, so that no consultation of the members was carried out. In many places, these developments are small and modest. Nevertheless, it is this rank and the activism of the files to build a union force that offers a way forward, not questionable business with university bosses. Branch President Steve Adams says the union has hebuffed a management push for separate agreements for academic and professional staff and stopped “the removal of academic freedom from the agreement, (management has long argued the university explicitly protects free speech). University employees were reportedly deprived of a 2.2 per cent pay increase introduced in early May as part of the proposed changes to their enterprise agreement. Ruth Jelley, acting secretary of Melbourne`s NTEU University, asks what the real stakes are in the university`s proposed job cuts and calls for a return to the fundamentals of public higher education. Supporters of the framework blamed the job losses on those who were able to oppose the framework. It is perhaps no further from the truth.
In trying to willingly exchange the terms of the members, the union leadership showed its weakness, defusing some members of the union for the attacks and insinuating to the university leaders that they would not fight to defend the conditions. This concessional haggling only encouraged the leaders — they smelled blood and left. The second form of attack, after the defeat of the national framework, implies that the university leadership must marginalize the union and unilaterally impose wage cuts. These include the University of Melbourne and the University of Wollongong. Meanwhile, management tried to terrorize employees because they thought the university`s finances were extremely bleak, even at a town hall meeting attended by thousands of people. On the day of the start of the union vote, the Age carried a misleading front-page article shared on the union`s social networks. It was inaugurated by the declaration: “The University of La Trobe is in danger of going bankrupt in a few weeks.” Much of the information was consistent with what management communicated to staff about the financial situation. Hours later, with the damage already taking place, Vice-Chancellor John Dewar issued a statement stating that “the university is not in danger of bankruptcy” and that it is indeed “in the top 30% of Australia`s 2000 largest revenue companies.”