Western Australia’s Murdoch University has applied to the Fair Work Commission to terminate the Enterprise Agreement with its staff so that it has the ability to return its workers to Award minimums in an unprecedented move more like the actions of rogue miner or building company.
The application, lodged with the Fair Work Commission in December, was the latest example of Murdoch’s “aggressive” tactics. They included attempting to gag two NTEU staff in a Federal Court action that — if successful — could render the pair liable to more than $170,000 in fines.
Management have not given any legally binding commitment to provide terms and conditions of employment other than the statutory minimums.
But you can help. Send a letter to the Vice-Chancellor to help change her mind.
A wage cut of 39%
If it is successful, it will leave staff with only safety-net protections — empowering management to cut wages by up to 39 per cent, end rights to academic freedom, slash redundancy entitlements and abolish provider-paid parental leave.
Secretary of the Western Australian Branch of the National Tertiary Education Union Gabe Gooding said Murdoch’s move to cancel the agreement was not a reaction to the university’s generous conditions but rather the university’s “particularly poor financial situation”.
She said the university had applied to void the EBA without putting the move to a staff vote and despite also filing for a conciliation hearing on Friday. “I would have thought Murdoch would have gone to conciliation (first),” she said.
“Staff of the university, whether union members or not, cannot see this as anything other than a co-ordinated attack on employment conditions by a management team that has abandoned all principles of fairness and decency toward staff.”