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Collective bargaining over contracts between Victoria University and staff represented by the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) has reached a deadlock.
The collective bargaining began in May following TEU members expressing disappointment over non-union staff being offered new pay scales, improvements to long service leave, and a $500 cash incentive for taking up individual employment agreements.
According to the August newsletter sent to all TEU Vic branch members,“the employer has withdrawn their new remuneration model from the negotiations.”
“Although we had agreed to it conditional on the union being able to negotiate the ranges of pay rates and on staff being guaranteed a minimum pay rise for performance,” it reads.
Despite the negative feedback from union members, Victoria University were clear that “the university has not walked away from pay negotiations.”
“The university has made what it considers is a fair pay offer, including a mechanism for the inclusion into the collective the new remuneration ranges available for non-union staff earlier this year.”
“To date the parties have not been able to reach agreement in terms of the principles for the introduction of the new ranges. The university has tabled an alternative position, which is exactly the same offer but without the inclusion of the new ranges.”
TEU deputy secretary Nanette Cormack says “it is unacceptable that Victoria would require that people give up their right to negotiate pay.”
According to the TEU, all non-union staff members currently have the right to negotiate “not just their annual pay increase, but also what the rate of pay for the job is.”
A stop work meeting has been planned for August 23, with the TEU saying they “need to show union strength in order to reach an acceptable conclusion to bargaining with the employer.”
According to Victoria’s TEU Rainbow Representative and librarian Joshua James, the pay-scales introduced in March put VUW out of line with the rest of the country, with library shelvers now being paid less than their counterparts at other universities. It also saw retirement leave for all new or non-union staff removed.
The university stressed that their negotiators “remain available to meet the union representatives at any time to try to conclude bargaining.”