Advocate vol. 25 no. 1 • March 2018 • www.nteu.org.au • ISSN 1329-7295
Overcrowded and Overworked ɓɓBargaining updates ɓɓMurdoch decision ɓɓHigher education’s funding freeze ɓɓThe impact of broken rules ɓɓInvasion Day grows in 2017 ɓɓGender pay equity
ɓɓOpen & ethical university governance ɓɓFWC endorses long working hours ɓɓPlan for a post-Treaty union ɓɓDefending academic freedom ɓɓDomestic violence & the workplace ɓɓSpeaking out on harassment in China
ɓɓYes! Unions = Equality ɓɓUnion women & leadership ɓɓCasual fee rise ɓɓState of the Uni survey results ɓɓNTEU turns 25; AUR turns 60 ɓɓ...and much more.
UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 From the General Secretary
3 Cover image: Overcrowded lecture hall. Credit: Alamy
Advocate ISSN 1321-8476 Published by National Tertiary Education Union ABN 38 579 396 344 Publisher Grahame McCulloch Editor Jeannie Rea Production Paul Clifton Editorial Assistance Anastasia Kotaidis Feedback, advertising and other enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org All text and images © NTEU 2018 unless otherwise stated.
NTEU National Office, PO Box 1323, Sth Melbourne VIC 3205 1st floor, 120 Clarendon St, Sth Melbourne VIC phone (03) 9254 1910 fax (03) 9254 1915 email email@example.com Division Offices www.nteu.org.au/divisions Branch Offices www.nteu.org.au/Branches
Le t ’s
Education is too important to be left to the market Editorial, Jeannie Rea, National President
Improving union democracy with better support for delegates Matthew McGowan, National Assistant Secretary
Zombie TPP to be signed in March
Review of Religious Freedom
What do a university and a coal mine have in common?
Canberra Colleges begin bargaining
Union committed to medical research institute staff
Supporting refugees & asylum seekers
9 NTEU supports RTBU industrial campaign
Bargaining for a more inclusive CDU
10 Michael Kirby delivers 7th NTEU Lecture
The past 20 years or so of industrial regulation have seen an increase in economic inequality, diminished access to real, permanent jobs and a reduction in purchasing power.
28 State of the Uni Survey: University staff have their say An in depth look at the 2nd NTEU State of the Uni survey results on working conditions, job satisfaction and voting intentions.
32 Defending academic freedom
A new look at gender equality
15 UK uni staff strike over pension cuts SECURE JOB NEWS 16 Changes to casual membership fees
NTEU members may opt for ‘soft delivery’ (email notification of online copy rather than mailed printed version). Details at nteu.org.au/ soft_delivery
26 Our industrial laws are broken: Time to change the rules
12 Research on domestic violence & workplace support
14 Agency fees challenge before US Supreme Court
Advocate is available online as a PDF at nteu.org.au/advocate and an e-book at www.issuu.com/nteu
What roles do university councillors play and what rules do they play by?
31 Diamond years for academic journal
13 Universities’ responses to the Change the Course report
In accordance with NTEU policy to reduce our impact on the natural environment, Advocate is printed using vegetable based inks with alcohol free printing initiatives on FSC certified paper under ISO 14001 Environmental Certification.
25 NTEU proposes code of open & ethical university governance
11 Investigating the gender pay gap in universities
Environment ISO 14001
Authorised by S. McManus, ACTU Secretary, 365 Queen St, Melbourne 3000. ACTU D No. 93/2017
17 SuperCasuals ACT launched
NTEU calls on Deakin to make a commitment to casuals
A&TSI NEWS 18 Invasion Day rallies grow in size and voice 20 More Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander staff in universities, but...
Australian Universities’ Review turns 60. Academic freedom is the cornerstone of a robust and healthy university system.
34 Unions = equality Faced with the marriage survey, LGBTIQ unionists got on with it, with strength, solidarity & some fun.
36 FWC endorses long working hours and unpaid work The four year long Award Case has now concluded, changing the Awards covering academic and general/professional staff.
38 Women, unions, education & leadership Leadership was the theme of the 3rd Women’s Conference of EI held in Marrakesh in January.
40 Breaking the culture of overwork Excessive working hours are an acute characteristic of academic employment in Australia.
41 HELP in need of help The Government is pursuing changes to HELP proposed in the last Federal Budget.
INTERNATIONAL 42 China: Speaking out on sexual harassment 43 Japan: Free uni education for poor families COLUMNS 44 Gig economy workers News from the Net, by Pat Wright
45 Ignoring the warnings to humanity Lowering the Boom, by Ian Lowe
46 Time, for a change
Thesis Whisperer, Inger Mewburn
47 What a difference a day and collective action makes
Letter from NZ, Sandra Grey, TEU
DELEGATES NEWS 48 Website to support Delegates
Delegate profile: Annette Herrera
YOUR UNION 50 NTEU commits to revised 10 point plan for a post-Treaty union 52 NTEU turns 25
Obituary: Dick Whyte
53 Summer interns
NTEU Women’s Network e-bulletin
55 New NTEU staff p. 34
21 Roll-out of budget cuts to Indigenous student assistance
Treaty commitment by NSW ALP
FEATURES 22 Funding freeze & the higher education ice age The Turnbull Coalition Government is abandoning core aspects of its higher education reform package, waving the white flag on policies related to the number and allocation of government supported university places.
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 25 no. 1 • March 2018 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 1
From the General Secretary Grahame McCulloch, General Secretary
UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 I attended a full meeting of the UNESCO General Assembly in Paris late last year as a representative of Education International (EI). The General Assembly brings together ministers and ambassadors from all UN member states and is responsible for fixing key elements of UNESCO’s worldwide work plan and priorities. EI was one of only two non-State actors (the other being the Global Campaign for Education – a key EI partner) to be given speaking rights for the duration of the General Assembly meeting. Ministers were given time limits of three minutes for their contributions and EI was given a two minute limit. One key focus for UNESCO was the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – these were adopted in 2015 to replace the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. There are 17 SDGs covering economics, the environment, social inclusion, inequality and education amongst others. EI’s key priority is SDG 4
which sets out priorities for education at all levels in both developed and developing countries. My remarks to the General Assembly highlighted the need for aid and public investment to be increased, and for national and international education trade unions to be a central part of implementing SDG 4: Distinguished Ministers, delegates and Mr Chairman my name is Grahame McCulloch and I speak on behalf of Education International. We represent 33 million teachers and lecturers in more than 400 member trade unions in 179 countries. We strongly support SDG 4 and UNESCO’s role in promoting it. Education at all levels provides the skills and knowledge necessary for social and economic development. Education develops informed citizens committed to social and democratic values. These are essential ingredients for nation building social cohesion and peace. And education is essential for the world of work, life and creative leisure. Ultimately education is fundamental to human happiness.
But the world is already lagging in achieving SDG 4. Aid is falling and public education investment remains inadequate. We must do better. The success of SDG 4 depends on social dialogue, partnership and innovative thinking. EI stands ready to work with all member states. We are open and adaptable and we understand the common and different challenges in rich, middle income and developing countries. Education trade unions are part of the solution not part of the problem. After all SDG 4 depends on the supply and knowledge of qualified education professionals in all sectors. EI urges member States to make the necessary public investments, and we call on rich countries to honour and increase their aid commitments. And we urge all countries to build social and trade union dialogue. Education trade unions, UNESCO and member States share the same objectives. Let us work together. Grahame McCulloch, General Secretary
UN Sustainable Development Goal 4: Inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning
and adults who have relevant skills, including techni- culture’s contribution to sustainable development. cal and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs • Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, and entrepreneurship. disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non• By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education violent, inclusive and effective learning environments and ensure equal access to all levels of education for all. Targets: and vocational training for the vulnerable, including • By 2020, substantially expand globally the number • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and of scholarships available to developing countries, in free, equitable and quality primary and secondary children in vulnerable situations. particular least developed countries, small island deeducation leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective • By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial veloping States and African countries, for enrolment learning outcomes. proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve in higher education, including vocational training • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access literacy and numeracy. and information and communications technology, to quality early childhood development, care and technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in • By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the preprimary education so that they are ready for knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable developed countries and other developing countries. primary education. development, including, among others, through ed- • By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified • By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men ucation for sustainable development and sustainable teachers, including through international cooperation to affordable and quality technical, vocational and lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion for teacher training in developing countries, especially tertiary education, including university. of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citileast developed countries and small island developing • By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth zenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of states.
NATIONAL OFFICE STAFF
Education & Training Officers Ken McAlpine, Helena Spyrou
National President Jeannie Rea Vice-President (Academic) Andrew Bonnell Vice-President (General Staff) Jane Battersby
Industrial Unit Coordinator Sarah Roberts National Industrial Officers Alex Cousner, Wayne Cupido, Susan Kenna
Executive Manager ICT Network Engineer Database Programmer/Data Analyst
General Secretary Grahame McCulloch National Assistant Secretary Matthew McGowan
Policy & Research Coordinator Policy & Research Officers
A&TSI PC Chair
National Executive: Rachael Bahl, Stuart Bunt, Damien Cahill, Sarah Kaine, Gabe Gooding, Andrea Lamont-Mills, Colin Long, Virginia Mansel Lees, Michael McNally, Kelvin Michael, Catherine Rojas, Melissa Slee, Ron Slee, Michael Thomson, Nick Warner, Lolita Wikander
National A&TSI Coordinator National A&TSI Organiser National Organiser National Publications Coordinator Media & Communications Officer National Membership Officer National Growth Organiser
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Paul Kniest Jen Tsen Kwok, Terri MacDonald Adam Frogley Celeste Liddle Michael Evans Paul Clifton Andrew MacDonald Melinda Valsorda Rifai Abdul
Peter Summers Tam Vuong Uffan Saeed Jo Riley
Executive Officer (Gen Sec & President) Anastasia Kotaidis Executive Officer (Meeting & Events) Tracey Coster Admin Officer (Membership & Campaigns) Julie Ann Veal Administrative Officer (Resources) Renee Veal Receptionist & Administrative Support Leanne Foote Finance Manager Senior Finance Officer Finance Officers
Glenn Osmand Gracia Ho Alex Ghvaladze, Tamara Labadze, Lee Powell, Daphne Zhang
Editorial Jeannie Rea, National President
Education is too important to be left to the market NTEU supports the ALP’s announcement to conduct a thorough investigation into post-secondary education and training in Australia within 100 days of being elected. We endorsed the strong emphasis on developing a cohesive and coherent post-secondary public education system rather than seeing vocational education and training (VET) and higher education as separate and competing endeavours. However, our support is conditional on there being a guarantee to provide the level of public investment necessary to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate in post- secondary education and training. Paying for public post-secondary education sits with government, and the decision to undertake studies should not be influenced by individual’s capacity or willingness to pay. We have to shift the policy debate from what can be achieved within a pre-determined ‘funding envelope’ which, after all is a political rather than a policy decision. NTEU warned that the review will lack credibility if it is confined to parcelling out existing or reduced public investment. Across VET and higher education, both the Coalition and Labor have run the narrative of access and equality, yet policy initiatives are driven within the neo-liberal ideological paradigm, and have explicitly turned to the ‘market’ to manage demand and supply. This approach has demonstrably failed. Contestability in TAFE, originally a Victorian Labor initiative, based on the spurious contention that opening public TAFE to private competition would improve efficiency and effectiveness, has been a policy disaster. Our internationally envied public vocational and further education system has been gutted, Students have been exploited as they face higher fees, a glut of useless courses, and the shortage of courses where there is a demand for qualified graduates. The market did not work in sorting out student and labour demands. The Demand Driven System (DDS) deregulated the supply of CSPs – another market oriented solution. The rationale
was that students would make rational decisions and choose courses based upon the balance of their dreams and graduate employment prospects. Instead potential students are subjected to relentless marketing by universities to entice them into courses. Rather than holding out for an increase in base funding per student, the universities just enrolled more and more students, both local and international, as this would deliver additional revenue, and in the hope that economies of scale would kick in. They have not. Instead new student cohorts, many of whom are not as academically well prepared, often struggle with a lack of support. And university jobs are increasingly precarious. The market in postgraduate coursework and for international students is deregulated and universities pitch fees at what they think the ‘market’ will bear – and rely upon students taking out loans to fund their education, contributing to the HELP debt blow out. International student fee income subsidises gaps in funding domestic students. Yet Australian students also pay amongst the highest tuition fees in the world. The ALP’s inquiry cannot just look back to amending previous reviews or fiddle around the edges of these fundamentally misconceived funding premises. It will be very difficult for stakeholders not to fall into the trap of just arguing for more funding, particularly if sectors and interests cynically vie for narrow perceived advantage. NTEU, and the ACTU, welcome an inquiry that will include unions. We will be seeking input into the terms of reference to ensure that staff are not an afterthought. It is a long time since unions were partners with government and business in determining education and training policy and implementation. Closing us out has contributed to the failure of recent policy and practice. It is unions that have the on the ground experience and expertise in what is happening to work and jobs, and what the future possibilities could be. As the union representing higher education workers, the NTEU must do more than intervene and respond to the parameters of an ALP Government inquiry, we need to be determining our own vision and
‘blueprint’ for post-secondary education, specifically articulating the specific role and characters of universities in the 21st century.
State of the Sector Conference Some years ago, the NTEU held a State of the Sector conference. At that time much of the focus was still on implementing the Bradley Report on higher education commissioned by Julia Gillard when she was Minister for Education. The rapid growth and implications of the casualisation of academic teaching was starting to be talked about, as clearly university managements were in part managing their funding shortfalls through casualisation and NTEU industrial remedies needed to be revisited. Evaluating the ‘Dawkins’ one university system of 39 comprehensive public universities was not on the agenda yet. And while online delivery of courses was under scrutiny, it was still largely confined to what used to be ‘distance education’ and for programs offered offshore. MOOCs had not started and being replaced by robots was still science fiction. The pressures on staff and standards of the reliance on international student income was not yet a public conversation. Where VET and higher education intersected was still seen by many as a problem, not an advantage for students. The landscape and debates have shifted. NTEU National Executive has scheduled a State of the Sector conference for September this year. It is about time the NTEU had our platform in the debates on future of higher education, rather than just responding to others’ provocations.
NTEU roadshow Over the next six months, leading up to the conference, an NTEU ‘roadshow’ will travel around the country with key speakers highlighting current issues, but also providing an opportunity for staff to put matters on the table. The roadshow events would further articulate the findings of our State of the Uni survey as well foreground local issues (many of which are sector wide). While government policy is clearly a key focus, so is the lack of democracy in continued overpage...
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 25 no. 1 • March 2018 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 3
From the National Asst Secretary Matthew McGowan, National Assistant Secretary
Improving union democracy with better support for delegates NTEU turns 25 this year. As many of us know from our own experience, 25 years is a pretty significant milestone. It is the time of life when as individuals we are starting to mature into fully functioning adults and make decisions that impact on the rest of our lives. It is the time we start the serious planning for our future. For NTEU, it is appropriate on this anniversary that we consider where we have come from and how we might develop further. We pride ourselves on being a highly democratic organisation, run by and for our members. We stand united in a purpose defined by our members through our democratic structures. Locally, this is embodied by the Branch Committee. At the State and National levels, it is the Councils and Executives, featuring representatives from every Branch which underpin the democratic foundations of our Union. We take these processes seriously, but there is still room for improvement. It is understandable that some members may find it difficult to feel like they are having a real say. Getting elected to Branch Committees can feel like a big commitment, and it can be daunting. And while members can always go to general meetings when they are called, these meetings are often organised with a specific purpose, and broader feedback is not always easy to get across.
For these reasons the Union is currently putting greater effort into its delegate networks. Becoming a delegate provides a way for members to get involved and make an impact on issues that they care about, without having to get elected to a Branch Committee. As the networks become more developed, Branches will consult with delegates about significant issues and seek their help in prosecuting campaigns on both local and sector wide issues. In this way they will be able to more effectively participate in Union supported campaigns, give voice to workplace membership in Union debates and help recruit new members. As part of the recent push to improve delegates networks, a new Delegates Handbook has been developed. Delegates kits have been prepared for confirmed local delegates and a new website has been created. This site has been designed as a one-stop-shop for delegates seeking information on Union policy and rules as well as campaign and recruitment guidance and materials. Since this work started in 2017, over 700 members have been nominated as delegates in workplaces across the country.
• Encourage more effective campaigning by building a network of activists who have identified a willingness to have an active role in the Union, and provide them with the support to participate. • Provide members with a stepping stone to more significant representative roles on Branch Committees or other Division/National fora. • Promote union membership in the workplace with delegates encouraging all staff to consider joining the Union. Just like in our own lives, 25 years is a significant and important milestone. There is much to celebrate but also much ahead of us. Some of it will be difficult, some of it will be joyful. But it is always going to be harder to try and do it alone. It is always better if we work together with unity of purpose. Together, we will continue building our future. Matt McGowan, National Assistant Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org For more on delegates, see Advocate’s new Delegates News section, p. 48.
Delegates networks offer multiple benefits. They: • Further democratise the Union and ensure that the Union remains in touch with the range of views and values held by our members. New and varied voices can be heard at a Branch level to influence the decisions we make through all channels.
Education is too important to be left to the market cont... ...continued from p. 3 universities, which is making it increasingly difficult to speak and act on the national policy issues and stifling staff (and students) doing exactly what is expected of universities. Universities do have a unique role – and responsibility – because they are the sites of the creation and dissemination of knowledges. The
public do expect universities to be the critics and the conscience of society. University people are expected to speak out – especially on hard issues. The connections between precarious work, council restricted research agendas, pandering to funders and partners, and the undermining of academic freedom and the responsibility to work for public
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good will no doubt frame many Roadshow conversations. Hopefully, along with talk on what we are going about it. Keep track at the conference website, www.nteu.org.au/stateofthesector. Jeannie Rea, National President Contact me with your ideas and feedback: email@example.com
Update Bargaining update Since the last issue of Advocate (Nov 2017), Agreements have been reached at a further six universities in Round 7 of higher education bargaining. University of Sydney The Agreement includes: • 2.1% annual payrise plus a $500 uplift to staff below HEO7 and ACA Level 2. • A $500 sign-on bonus. • 17% employer superannuation contribution for all fixed-term staff. • Better access to conversion to permanent for fixed term staff. • Improved allowances for casuals, and improved opportunity for conversion to continuing employment. • Academic Fellow positions for existing casuals with access to conversion to a teaching and research role.
University of Adelaide The new Agreement provides for: • Pay increases from 5.96% to 12.37%. • 17% employer superannuation contribution for all fixed-term staff from 1 July 2017. • 40 Professional Staff Scholarships up to $2700 annually codified in the Agreement. • All overtime worked by Professional Staff to be paid instead of taken as Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) unless mutually agreed. • New fixed-term Academic employment category that is convertible to continuing after 3 years.
James Cook University The new Agreement includes:
• Conversion process for long-term fixedterm staff to continuing positions, and improved conversion process for casual academic staff. • Information on unions to be provided on HR induction webpages, and 2 additional leave days for NTEU Division and National Councillors.
Swinburne University The Agreement provides for: • 8.2% + $1200 pay increase. • 17% employer superannuation contribution for all fixed-term employees from 1 March 2018. • Capacity for additional family and domestic violence leave. • Opportunities for conversion for casual academics to more secure employment. • An increased target for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment. • Parental leave based on primary/ secondary care giver status rather than gender. • Suspension for disciplinary reasons may now only take place with pay.
Western Sydney University
• 8.9% pay increase.
The new Academic and Professional Staff Agreements provide for:
• 17% employer superannuation contribution for fixed term and part-time staff.
• 8.35% pay increase plus $1000 bonus.
• 10 days stand-alone domestic and family violence leave. • Improved change management processes. • Contract length to match the grant for contract research staff.
• 17% employer superannuation contribution for all fixed term staff. • 60 positions converting WSU casuals to ongoing employment. • Conversion of current teaching focussed roles and career development fellowships to mainstream academic roles.
• Additional payment for casuals for orientation, induction and completion of online training. • 10 days family violence leave. • An additional 6 weeks paid partner leave. • Recognition of moral rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees in relation to traditional knowledge.
La Trobe University The Agreement includes: • 4.8% plus $3300 pay increase. • 17% employer superannuation contribution for fixed-term and part-time staff. • 1645 hours allocated annually for workload. • Capacity to offer casual academic staff fixed term contracts of between one and five years as an alternative to casual engagement. • Threshold for academic staff subject to performance based contracts to rise from $215,520 to $236,210. • Call-back for employees on standby subject to a minimum payment of 3 hours at overtime rates. In-principle Agreements have also been reached at the University of Technology, Sydney – watch this space for further details coming soon. Sarah Roberts, National Industrial Coordinator
Above: Melbourne University Branch executive, Sara Brocklesby, Prof. Christian Haesemeyer and Steve Adams standing together to fight off the University’s attempt to split staff into two Agreements (Dec 2017). Credit: Toby Cotton
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 25 no. 1 • March 2018 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 5
Update Zombie TPP to be signed in March In 2017, the Japanese and Australian governments aggressively pursued a revived Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) without the United States. These negotiations continued to progress until Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau failed to appear at a Heads of Government meeting in November. Canada had decided to withhold its support because it wanted further changes, such as clauses that would allow exemptions for local cultural industries, as well as specific exceptions around rules of origin, related to Canada’s automotive sector. How much did Canada change its mind? We will know soon enough. In late January, the remaining eleven TPP nations (including Canada), announced that the new Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) would be signed in March.
What’s new in the CPTPP? Media sources have reported about what is allegedly in and out of the CPTPP, including that the chapter on intellectual property saw the most change, representing 11 of 20 amendments. Changes include suspension of the copyright extension to 70 years after an author’s or artist’s death, and suspension of further IP protections for biologics. Canada also achieved side agreements with every nation about their own local cultural production, rather than the creation of a general rule. Some media sources have reported changes to the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) process, by removing references to “investment agreements”. However, the overall role of ISDS and the arbitral power of corporations to sue governments is likely to remain. Australian coalition AFTINET, to which NTEU is affiliated, has called attention to a lack of change around ISDS and market testing for temporary migrant workers. There is also no substantial evidence of an improvement to labour and environmental rules, which is counter-intuitive considering Canada’s insistence on a “progressive agreement”.
Though elements of the agreement have been announced, the fact remains that what we know about the CPTPP has again been carefully filtered through Ministerial media releases and selective reporting. The CPTPP will only be publicly available after it is signed. Prime Minister Turnbull’s failure to respond to any of the accountability measures proposed in the 2016 Blind Agreement Senate Committee report highlights how little the Australian Government thinks of its own citizens and workers. Preferential trade agreements not only facilitate trade in goods and services by reducing tariff walls, they support trade by expanding corporate power to compete against the public provision of goods and services. This includes by facilitating global supply chains which in turn deliver “efficiencies” to businesses by reducing the cost of labour at different steps in the production process.
Impacts on higher education Likewise for higher education, there are potentially all manner of ways in which quality could be diluted through public versus private competition, other than the limited commitment to an educational carve-out made by the Australian Government, or by its 2017 decision to not extend Commonwealth subsidies to private providers. DFAT has reported that “universities and vocational education providers will have legally guaranteed access to Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Mexico, and will be able to supply online education services”. This benefit depends on Australia’s relative market advantage in the private provision of online degrees. It is useful to consider what impacts deeper market access might have for Australian higher education as a labour market, when more courses are being delivered online, and when the delivery of education is likely to be more taylorised. In January, the NTEU warned that the CPTPP would enable for-profit corporations to deliver educational services and aspects of education on the cheap. Jen T Kwok, Policy & Research Officer
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Above: Protester at anti-TPP rally in Sydney. Source: bilaterals.org
Review of Religious Freedom On 22 November 2017, preceding the announcement of the outcome of the Same Sex Marriage survey, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull established an Expert Panel to examine whether Australian law adequately protects the human right to freedom of religion. The Panel is chaired by former Howard Government Minister, Phillip Ruddock. Considered a political exercise to mollify conservative backbenchers at the time of its announcement, the Expert Panel invited public submissions to its review. NTEU’s submission rejects and opposes any further legislative changes to protect religious freedoms at the expense of human rights. The Union has also called for any further questions about balance in the protection of human rights to be depoliticised, and framed by the introduction of a National Human Rights Bill. NTEU’s submission available at www.nteu.org.au/policy/ legislation_submissions/nteu_ submissions
Update What do a university and a coal mine have in common? On Valentine’s Day, twenty-nine maintenance workers walked in the gate of a coal mine in Collie, WA. What made that entrance to work so special was that those workers were returning after 6 months on strike: 184 days of industrial action, 184 days without pay. The NTEU WA Division has forged a close working relationship with the AMWU workers at Griffin Coal over the past year. Just like Murdoch University, Griffin Coal successfully terminated the Enterprise Agreement that covered their maintenance workers, and just like NTEU members at Murdoch, employees were immediately plunged into a nightmare of uncertainty. When the Griffin Coal Agreement was terminated the effect was that employee wages were reduced by 46%. Griffin gave some short-term undertakings and during that period offered the workers the ability to leave before the undertakings ran out. If they did so they would have their entitlements at their “normal” rate of pay. If they didn’t, if they supported their Union, they would immediately lose 46% of the value of their accrued entitlements as well as have their pay drop. When the Murdoch Agreement was terminated, the management also gave undertakings to retain the pay rates and some conditions of their employees. In Murdoch’s case, it was for 6 months expiring on 25 March 2018. At that point, absent any decision to continue the undertakings, Murdoch employees would see their pay reduced by between 19% and 39% on 26 March 2018. Both the AMWU at Griffin, and the NTEU at Murdoch, had been attempting to negotiate a new Enterprise Agreement with an employer who had an agenda that they were prepared to pursue at all costs.
Canberra Colleges begin bargaining
Union members were seeking to retain conditions that had been hard fought over decades. Make no mistake the actions by Griffin and Murdoch right from the beginning of bargaining were aggressive and single mindedly aimed at stripping rights and protections from employees. The termination was the ultimate expression of that strategy. This is now the standard and accepted employer smash and grab approach that is not only allowed, but facilitated, by workplace laws that are beyond broken. Workplace laws that give the employers the power to terminate agreements after having to jump a very low bar. But we are seeing a fightback. Griffin Coal were not just taking on 29 AMWU members, they were taking on the union movement, and we gathered together to protect and support those workers, just as we are going to gather together to #ChangeTheRules. In the 6 months of the strike, union members from around the country donated from their own wages to keep the Griffin workers going, and I had the great privilege of not only delivering financial donations along the way, but more importantly a sizeable Christmas parcel to every child of every worker, donated by NTEU members. In a similar fashion NTEU members from around the country have rallied to support our members at Murdoch. Union members at Murdoch have organised. They have taken industrial action, they have postered the campus (and re-postered every time their posters were taken down), they have talked to their co-workers, they have asked the hard questions of senior leaders at public meetings, they have handed out fliers at Murdoch public events and they have taken to social media. And when the dust settles I am confident that we will be claiming a significant win. After 184 days of strike action, the maintenance workers at Griffin Coal went back to work with an Enterprise Agreement that did not differ much at all to the draft
Enterprise bargaining has commenced at Australian National University College (ANUC) and the University of Canberra College (UCC). Both Colleges have their own Enterprise Agreements. ANUC has been operated by Study Group Australia since the end of 2013. The most recent EA nominally expired in December 2017. Members at ANUC have highlighted teaching workloads, including class sizes and time spent on administration in their log of claims. NTEU and management bargaining teams met on 16 February 2018. Early negotiations are positive so far. At UCC, teaching workloads and class sizes are also a concern. Members at UCC have had a trying time over the last eighteen months with private education provider Navitas taking a 51 per cent interest in the College from mid-2015. Navitas management is seeking an increase in the maximum class size and an increase in teaching time for English Language teachers. UCC members worked hard to achieve their first unified EA in early 2015 and are keen to retain and build on existing conditions. Members met on 1 February and expressed their concerns about a range of matters in proposals from management. Discussions are continuing. that they had put on the table before the termination. NTEU was there the day they proudly walked back in to work, and those Griffin coal workers are now supporting our members at Murdoch. This is the essence of the union movement. The rules are broken and we need to change them, and that must be the most important thing that Union members support and work on in the next year or two. We must unite, we must take on those laws and we must change them. (And the answer to the question in the title is that neither will win). Gabe Gooding, WA Division Secretary
Above: NTEU delegation delivering Christmas presents to the children of striking AMWU workers.
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Update Union committed to medical research institute staff NTEU is redoubling efforts to secure strong workplace Agreements for members in research institutes following a disappointing decision by the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC). This commitment comes after the FWC in February determined that the Professional Employees’ Award, which covers engineers, architects, managers and scientists, is the appropriate modern award to cover staff in medical research institutes.
The decision was handed down as part of the FWC review of the modern awards, and rejected NTEU submissions that research institute staff should be covered under the Higher Education Award. NTEU National Assistant Secretary Matthew McGowan said the ruling was disappointing as it ‘ignored the longstanding and substantial connection between universities and research institutes.’ “The conditions in the Professional Employees Award are substantially weaker than the Higher Education Award,” said McGowan. “For staff in those institutes which are covered by Collective Agreements, the decision will have little practical effect in the short term. For others who are dependent on the Award, the impact could be more significant.” Though disappointing, the FWC decision deals only with which award regulates work in research institutes, and does not deal with union coverage. This means NTEU can continue to represent members covered by the Professional Employees Award, and can bargain on their behalf.
At the time of writing, enterprise bargaining was underway at the Florey Institute, the Hudson Institute and the Lowitja Institute, while planning was ongoing in relation to long-term organising campaigns at other sites. McGowan said the FWC decision highlighted the importance of securing, maintaining and improving strong Enterprise Agreements for members. “This will only strengthen our commitment to our members. We are now looking at how we can extend collective bargaining protections to researchers and others who rely upon the awards for their underlying conditions of employment.” A part of its February decision, the FWC also rejected APESMA’s (Professionals Australia) argument that work value analysis was not required to insert a new pay scale into the Professional Employees Award. NTEU has been invited to submit for consideration determinations it believes appropriate for any new stream in the Award. Andrew MacDonald, Media & Communications Officer
Supporting refugees & asylum seekers NTEU members consistently demonstrate commitment to the human rights of refugees and asylum seekers by participating in public demonstrations, through social media, in providing practical aid and support, and in developing solutions to address off shore detention, noting the work done by Academics for Refugees.
sible resettlement country for refugees who have asked us for asylum.”
Last November, NTEU National Executive stated that “The Manus catastrophe is core union business. The NTEU stands with the refugees currently under siege on Manus Island, and commits ourselves to the campaign to #BringThemHere.”
Further, NTEU condemned “both the Turnbull Government and the Shorten Opposition for their bipartisan use of spurious border protection arguments as the excuse to not bring the refugees on Manus Island and Nauru to Australia.”
The Union condemned “the Turnbull Government for continuing to put the men’s lives in danger more than 18 months after the PNG Supreme Court ruled that the Australian-run detention centre was unconstitutional. Australia is the only pos-
NTEU pledged to “promote and participate in actions called by the wider refugee rights movement to immediately evacuate Manus Island, and to bring the refugees from both Manus Island and Nauru to the Australian mainland”. NTEU welcomed the ACTU statement that
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“They deserve to live in freedom. They do not deserve to die in a remote camp, nor continue being tortured.” NTEU members are amongst the core of Unionists for Refugees groups across the country, and the National Executive reiterated the need to encourage members to support campaigns to fundamentally change Australia’s refugee and asylum seeker policies. We strongly back the ACTU position and call upon the ALP to amend their current policy.
Above: UNSW Branch Committee supporting #BringThemHere, November 2017.
Update NTEU supports RTBU industrial campaign Early this year the NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) stood up to the Liberal NSW Government, beginning an industrial campaign to get a new Enterprise Agreement. This Government seems determined to run down train, bus and ferry services for working people, and is determined to privatise as much of the public transport system as they can by selling it to their mates. The decision by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to essentially ban the RTBU strike on Monday 29 January, and other industrial action, raises many important questions for the RTBU and the wider union movement. The decision was based on provisions in the Fair Work Act that enable employers to seek orders for the suspension of protected industrial action where such action threatens to “endanger the welfare of part of the population” and /or “cause significant damage to the Australian economy or an important part of it”. This decision, and the legal provisions behind it, show beyond any doubt that the industrial relations landscape in Australia is decisively stacked in favour of employers. It means that if a strike has the potential to be effective, it can and will be suspended. NTEU has not been immune from such decisions in the past, with an order against a “transmission of marks” ban at the University of South Australia, and similar decisions at Monash and other universities also imposed by the FWC. This decision is a fundamental attack on human rights and on our rights as unions to organise and fight to improve workers’ conditions. NTEU stands in solidarity with the RTBU and their members in their fight for wage justice and decent working conditions. Michael Thomson, NSW Division Secretary
Above right: NTEU members hand out flyers at Redfern station in solidarity with RTBU rail workers who had planned to strike.
Bargaining for a more inclusive CDU The NTEU bargaining team has been at the table for months with Charles Darwin University (CDU) management working through our log of claims and resisting attempts by management to reduce existing entitlements. While negotiations were slow moving to begin with, the early 2018 bargaining meetings are showing signs that management may just be moving towards seeking an Agreement. While bargaining has been very frustrating for our hard-working team, we have had success with a quiet achiever who has been working on a more inclusive University. QUTE Caucus member Dr Belinda Chaplin has been negotiating with CDU since last year to create an inclusive space dedicated for the LGBTIQ community and their allies. There is an agreement from the University on this inclusive space being created and the tour of rooms to choose the most suitable venue has occurred. We’re hoping that the inclusive space may be ready to launch on or around IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia) Day. With plans already underway for another fabulous IDAHOBIT celebration in May there is also great work being
undertaken by Dr Belinda Chaplin to establish an LGBTQI students group in March. “I’ll facilitate the group and help with setting it up with the students, but they will run it,” Dr Chaplin said. Given that this year’s IDAHOBIT theme is Alliances for Solidarity, it is fantastic that Dr Chaplin is also a Board member of the Northern Territory Aids and Hepatitis Council and the Secretary of Australian and New Zealand Professional Association for Transgender Health (ANZPATH). In working with Dr Chaplin, the NTEU was able to support the ANZPATH submission that Dr Chaplin provided to the current Review of the Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Act on modernising in its gender and sexuality protections and language. How inspiring to see advocacy and activism delivering real changes to create a more inclusive University. Delia Lawrie, NT Division Industrial Organiser
Above: CDU bargaining team: President Darius Pfitzner, Industrial Officer Heinz Schmitt, Secretary Lolita Wikander and Vice President (General) Sylvia Klonaris.
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Update Michael Kirby delivers 7th NTEU Lecture
to what the judges presiding over the Nuremburg trials after World War II must have felt about the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany.
NTEU was privileged to have the Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG, former High Court Justice and human rights champion, present the seventh annual NTEU Lecture at ANU, the day after the successful outcome of the marriage equality survey was announced in November. The topic of Mr Kirby’s lecture was “The joys and tears of Australian engagement in universal human rights in the United Nations”. He outlined his views and experiences as a barrister, a Deputy President of the (former) Conciliation and Arbitration Commission (now the Fair Work Commission), a High Court Justice, and working for the United Nations investigating human rights violations. Mr Kirby talked about the development and adoption in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and noted that Australia has not adopted something similar, despite attempts by the Whitlam Government in 1973 and the Hawke Government in 1983, both times being rejected by the Senate. He noted that Australia doesn’t have an unblemished record around human rights, and criticised recent successive Australian governments for the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.
But it was inevitable given the timing that he would bring the lecture back to the issues around marriage equality and the postal survey. He publicly opposed the postal survey almost as soon as it was announced, saying that he did not want to participate in something he disagreed with, and that it should be appropriately dealt with by Parliament. “We had not invited this survey,” Mr Kirby said. “Mr Turnbull said yesterday ‘You see, I have delivered this for you.’ But he didn’t deliver this, we delivered it, the people of Australia delivered it by a big majority. With all respect to Mr Turnbull, he delivered the survey. He tried to deliver a plebiscite. It takes out of the Parliament the entitlement and obligation to decide matters in our representative democracy, as our Constitution envisages. But that having been defeated not once, but twice, by the Senate, they then pressed on with the survey. “And so, what was done was not done with a view to joining in the celebrations that came about yesterday; it was done by people who wanted to stop that ‘evil’ day happening, and therefore what was delivered to us was a popular vote, a vote by some of the majority on the human rights of a minority and you don’t in a properly functioning democracy submit fundamental civil rights to a vote of the people, you submit it to a vote of the Members of Parliament.” But, Mr Kirby said that his partner of 48 years, Johan, convinced him that it was important to vote in the survey and to encourage everyone to vote.
Mr Kirby’s most recent work around human rights was as a member of the UN Commission of Inquiry investigating human rights violations in North Korea. He talked about some of the harrowing 16 November 2017 stories presented in witness statements and public hearings involving The joys and tears of Australian engagement in some of the 30,000 people who have managed universal human rights in the United Nations to escape to the south or through China. He said it The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG was a similar experience
The NTEU Lecture
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Mr Kirby said that religions will further lose credibility because of their opposition to marriage equality, given that 133 out of 150 electorates had voted “yes”. During a drive to Wollongong he noted the number of Catholic Churches displaying “It’s OK to vote No” banners. His own church, the Anglican Church, had found $1 million for the No campaign. “How many scholarships for Aboriginal Australians could’ve been found in those millions; or how much could’ve been invested in those who have been the victims of wrongs by churches instead of on the No campaign?” Mr Kirby said. “I think that we as Australian citizens can take satisfaction that what was intended to be a manoeuvre to defeat marriage equality didn’t work.” He ended the lecture by noting the work NTEU had done to support the Yes vote. “I believe that the NTEU is to be congratulated for its support of the marriage equality campaign, but also of the other public goods that they proclaim as being essential to equality and in the best traditions of the union movement. Michael Evans, National Organiser A video of the 2017 Lecture, and all previous NTEU Lectures, can be viewed at: www.nteu.org.au/ lecture/2017
Above: Michael Kirby delivering the NTEU Lecture at ANU in November 2017. Credit: Steve Leahy
Update Investigating the gender pay gap in universities Following a decision of the 2017 National Council meeting, NTEU has begun research to determine the extent of the gender pay gap (GPG) in universities for academic, research and general/ professional staff. This follows last year’s findings by Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) that the gender pay gap for full time professional staff across the Education and Training sector was 10%, and at 13% for senior management levels. However, the WGEA data is not higher education specific, and any remuneration data reported by universities is not publicly available. More work is therefore needed. Over the last decades there have been a number of studies which have examined the gender pay gap in universities. The most notable of these was the study conducted in 1996/97, Gender Pay Equity in Australian Higher Education1, and the major gender equality study headed by Professor Glenda Strachan of Griffith University, Women, careers and universities: where to from here?.2 Both of these studies involved surveys with a large range of university staff and both were initiated by NTEU. The reports of these studies made various recommendations and contributed to an in-depth understanding of factors contributing to gender inequality in the sector. However, while the research by Probert et al. focused on pay inequality it is more than two decades out of date, and the 2016 study (based on survey data from 2011 which included casually employed academic staff ) concentrated on the increased job insecurity which has developed in the sector over that time. These do not reveal the full extent of the current gender pay gap in higher education. We need to know the GPG so we can address remedying it! A complication for the research project is that there is no single data source which enables a review to occur in a comprehensive way. The ABS industry and occupational categories do not capture average weekly earnings for higher education academic or general/professional staff in a
way that accords with university jobs. Data from the Department of Education and Training is also incomplete. Enterprise Agreements cover almost all higher education workers but to be confident in identifying the actual pay gap, there needs to be consideration of over-Agreement payments, some of which are discretionary. These are generally paid as loadings, particularly for academic and management staff. Some payments are mandated by the relevant Enterprise Agreement, but many sit outside the Agreement. How these are applied will be important in understanding their contribution to the gender pay gap in universities. In order for the Union to determine the extent of the gender pay gap we are seeking to partner with a number of institutions, noting that many are already undertaking gender pay gap analysis as part of their commitments to improving gender equity.
The results of this study will be presented at the 2018 NTEU National Council meeting, with recommendations made on how the gender pay gap can be addressed through the NTEU’s industrial and political strategies. Terri MacDonald, Policy and Research Officer & Susan McKenna, National Industrial Officer If you are interested in this project please contact Jeannie Rea, National President, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
References 1. Probert, B., Ewer, P. & Whiting, K. (1998). Gender pay equity in Australian higher education. South Melbourne: National Tertiary Education Union. 2. Strachan, G., Peetz, D., Whitehouse, G., Bailey, J. Broadbent, K., May, R., Troup,. C. & Nesic, M. (2016). Women, careers and universities: where to from here? Brisbane: Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing, Griffith University.
The research project will also undertake qualitative studies of university staff and in doing so examine the range of gender equality factors limiting women’s earnings when compared to men’s - for example, precarious work, lack of work flexibility, sacrifice of superannuation contributions during parental leave, barriers to promotion or access to loadings, and ‘everyday sexism’.
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Update Research on domestic violence & workplace support Over the past two enterprise bargaining rounds, NTEU has sought, successfully in many universities, to have clauses included to provide assistance and support to those dealing with domestic violence. In negotiating these clauses we hoped we were on the right track in achieving the desired outcomes of supporting staff to keep their jobs and better manage their situation. Therefore, we joined with Deakin University to investigate the “Impact of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) on the workplace: Assessing help seeking, help providing and organisational policy and strategy”. Dr Arlene Walker, Associate Head of School (Rural and Regional Development) in the School of Psychology at Deakin University, has provided the following summary of the research findings. A collaborative study between and the NTEU was conducted in 2017. The aim of the study was to increase knowledge about how IPV impacts the workplace in terms of the: victim, team and manager. The use (and barriers to use) of family and domestic violence (F&DV) policy/ strategy; implementation of F&DV policy/ strategy; victim help seeking (including barriers to help seeking) in the workplace and colleague experiences of providing support to victims in the workplace was investigated. A mixed methods approach was used. Data was collected via an online survey sent to NTEU members at 13 participating universities across Australia. The survey questions assessed experiences of violence, mental wellbeing, workplace performance outcomes, help seeking behaviour, barriers to help seeking, and experiences of help providing. Demographic data was also collected. The final sample consisted of 930 participants, of which 278 were IPV victims. Of the IPV victims, 29 (10.4%) had sought help within their workplace. A total
of 108 participants reported having being asked to provide help and support to an IPV victim, of which 40% were managers. An initial analysis of the data found: • IPV victims experienced significantly higher rates of presenteeism, anxiety and depression compared to non-victims. • There were no differences in rates of absenteeism, perceptions of support or levels of engagement between IPV victims and non-victims. • The 29 IPV victims who sought help in the workplace did not differ on any of the workplace outcomes, but did experience greater mental health impacts than IPV victims who did not seek help at work. • Managers and Employee Assistance Providers were the most common sources of support for IPV victims who sought help at work and approximately one third of help seekers reported being dissatisfied with the support provided to them. • Help providers reported that confidence and having available resources assisted their ability to provide help to IPV victims in the workplace, while a lack of experience, an unsupportive workplace and a reluctance to assist hindered their ability to provide help. • Help providers provided two main types of support to IPV victims in the workplace: emotional support to comfort the victim and practical support to assist them in making changes to their lives. • Help providers’ reported an emotional impact, a personal impact and a work impact when asked about the outcomes for them in providing help to an IPV victim at work. • Almost half of the participants (48%) did not know if a F&DV policy existed in their workplace and of the IPV victims, 47% did not know if a policy existed. A more thorough analysis of the data will be undertaken in 2018 and a couple of papers will be submitted for publication. The long-term aim of this research is to inform the development and implementation of appropriate workplace interventions to better support IPV victims, team members and managers. Dr Arlene Walker, Associate Head of School (Rural and Regional Development), School of Psychology, Deakin University, and Co-Editor Australasian Journal of Organisational Psychology.
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A new look at gender equality NTEU recently participated in a union consultation of the Victorian Government’s proposed legislation on gender equality. The legislation will be based on Safe and Strong, Victoria’s first Gender Equality Strategy. There are equal opportunity and other anti-discrimination laws in place in Victoria, but this work is being hailed as the first strategic look at obtaining equality for women. The caucus framed priorities for working women around the key priority areas of Trades Hall’s Our Feminist Agenda: Gendered violence, gender pay inequality, intersection and transitions between caring and work, and insecure and precarious work. The participants emphasised that there must be consideration of multiple inequalities that people may experience and how they experience them. ‘Gender’ is no longer understood as binary; this needs to be stressed in the consultations to aim to eliminate all forms of gender stereotyping. To this end, questions of intersectionality must be considered, as NTEU had already emphasised having framed our last Women’s Conference around this theme. It was agreed that the next stage of consultation needs to include broader representation of informal work sectors and those organising around identity groups, including sex workers, outworkers, unemployed workers, transgender people, women with disabilities and women of colour. Mandatory pay equity audits, targets and quotas must be aimed at cultural change across every level of organisations, not just focus on getting more women on boards. And targets should adjust with time as we adapt to concepts of gender. There also must be transparency in abiding by the legislation and penalties for non-compliance. The participants’ emphasised that there must be union involvement at all stages of consultation and any legislation must include unions as key stakeholders. NTEU Victorian Division will continue to participate in this process. Susan Kenna, Industrial Officer
Update Universities’ responses to the Change the Course report In 2016, Universities Australia (UA) asked the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to conduct a national independent survey into sexual harassment and assault in Australian universities as part of UA’s Respect. Now. campaign. More than 30,000 students across 39 universities took part in the survey, and last year the AHRC presented its findings in the landmark Change the Course report. While the findings of the report were deeply concerning, NTEU was not surprised to learn of the extent of sexual harassment and assault in universities, having pushed for these issues to be taken seriously and for preventative action for years. That said, the findings that one in five (21%) of students who participated in the survey experienced sexual harassment in a university setting in 2016 and a further 1.6% experienced sexual assault in a university setting on at least one occasion in 2015 or 2016 is difficult reading. Women were three times as likely as men to have been sexually assaulted in a university setting in 2015 or 2016, and almost twice as likely as
men to have been sexually harassed in a university setting in 2016. Disturbingly, 94% of students who were sexually harassed and 87% of students who were sexually assaulted did not formally report their experience to the university. While the report bought to light just how badly universities had failed in addressing sexual harassment and assault, it also made a series of recommendations on what universities (and colleges) needed to do in order to address these problems. These recommendations focused on five action areas: • Leadership and governance: A strong and visible commitment to action from university leaders, accompanied by clear and transparent implementation of these recommendations. • Changing attitudes and behaviours: Development of measures aimed at preventing sexual assault and sexual harassment. • University responses to sexual assault and sexual harassment: An independent, systematic review of university responses to sexual assault and sexual harassment and their effectiveness and the implementation of effective processes for responding to sexual assault and sexual harassment. • Monitoring and evaluation: Ensuring that steps taken to prevent and respond to sexual assault and sexual harassment are evidence-based and that improvements are made over time.
the recommendations AHRC reports, with 32 explicitly accepting all nine recommendations. While we commend the universities on finally realising that action is needed, it is important that the momentum for change is not lost. The Union, through our Branches and Divisions, is currently monitoring how university managements deal with the issue of sexual assault and sexual harassment, and have asked Branches to report on their respective university’s actions. We are particularly concerned too about how staff are taking on the load of implementation. No staff member should be given additional work in implementing the recommendations. This work should replace other work and accorded value. Otherwise universities are not taking implementation seriously and staff are unfairly bearing the burden.
• Residential colleges and university residences: A review to further examine issues and solutions to address sexual assault and sexual harassment within residential colleges and university residences.
We are also in discussions with the AHRC regarding its next sexual harassment prevalence survey in 2018 (following on from the previous survey in 2012), with a view to ensuring university staff are included in the survey. Further information on staff participation in this survey will be provided once finalised.
In November 2017, the AHRC contacted all 39 universities to ask what action they had taken in response to the report and its recommendations. All 39 universities audited said that they accepted the majority of
Terri MacDonald, Policy and Research Officer
Above: Image from the End Rape on Campus campaign. Source: www.endrapeoncampusau.org. Left: Image from Universities Australia’s Respect. Now. Always. campaign. Source: www.universitiesaustralia. edu.au
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Update Agency fees challenge before US Supreme Court Anti-union forces in the United States are on a roll, with a critical case to be heard in the US Supreme Court in late February, which if successful will abolish agency fees and could destroy public employee and teacher unions. The case is called Janus vs the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). The main question is whether a 40-year-old law which protects the financial capability of unions to negotiate collective agreements will be annulled. Since 1977 this law declared that workers who are not members of their workplace union must still contribute financially to the expenses related to bargaining new contracts. These fees are known as agency fees, because the Union acts as an agency for workers who have decided not to join the Union. The agency fees are also called fair share fees, because the non-unionised workers still benefit from the negotiation outcomes.
education workers and all unionists in opposing the Janus vs AFSCME challenge to the agency or fair share fees.
In Australia, we know well what happens without any ‘agency’ or ‘fair share’ provisions. While unions negotiate enterprise agreements and members take industrial action, those who are not union members also benefit from the successful outcomes. We call it ‘free riding’ (or sometimes we use less polite language). The outcome is that we often cannot exercise the industrial muscle that would win higher wages and better conditions because of low union density, where there are few incentives for ‘free riders’ to join up. It is a problem throughout Australian unions, including within our union.
“We all rely upon unions to negotiate better salaries and conditions of work, yet unions’ capacity to succeed is severely undermined when free riders get the protection and advantage of union-won collective agreements without contribution.
NTEU has joined with other EI affiliates in sending letters of protest to the US Ambassador in their countries where protests are also being organised at embassies.
The US education unions and Education International have called for solidarity from affiliates around the world, rightly arguing that a negative outcome in this case will not only hollow out unions capacity to fight for workers’ salaries and
Since 1958, the Australian Universities’ Review has been encouraging debate and discussion about issues in higher education and its contribution to Australian public life.
conditions in the US, but will encourage corporate interests and their governments around the world.
NTEU National President, Jeannie Rea said, “NTEU members stand with
vol. 56, no. 1, 20 14 NTEU
“Union strength depends upon membership density and active participation of workers in mobilising for their rights. Anti-union forces will use every trick in the book to undermine workers’ rights, including the right to organise.” ACTU’s Change the Rules campaign must address this issue, and an ALP government must be prevailed upon to introduce the very type of law that Janus vs AFSCME is seeking to abolish. #WeRise #ItsAboutFreedom
Above: AFSCME members showing support for their union. Source: AFSCME
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Update UK university staff strike over pension cuts Fourteen days of strikes across more than sixty universities started on 22 February across the UK, as the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) called out members to protest the cutting of their pension rights. UCU reported excellent turnouts and student support, as well as politicians speaking out against the planned pension cuts. In this unprecedented attack, employers want to end guaranteed pensions and reduce retirement income for all university staff. The hard-line proposals would mean that final pensions would depend upon how the stock market performs, rather than the level of contributions. This would amount to a reduction of retirement benefits by between 20% and 40% depending upon grade and length of service. UCU calculates that typically a lecturer stands to lose around A$20,000 a year. UCU members voted overwhelmingly to strike in the biggest meetings the Union has seen. As UCU noted, “We have been
left with no choice but to take strike action and to withdraw the goodwill that the university relies upon but has taken for granted.” The Union is calling upon vice chancellors, many of whom are apparently unhappy about this move being orchestrated by the UK university employers’ body, to stand up for their staff, and their university and students. A cut to pensions will lead to uncertainty as staff morale is broken and universities become unattractive places to work. In the UK lower universities’ salaries as compared to those offered in professions outside have been compensated by the decent pension scheme.
SUPPORT OUR STRIKE TO DEFEND USS Why we are striking We are university staﬀ and members of the University and College Union (UCU) and we are taking strike action to defend our righ t to a fair pension. Univer sity employers want to end gua ranteed pensions and reduce retirement income for all.
Education unions from around the world have pledged support for UCU, with the Education International European Union region saying, “Decent social benefits for the work of www.ucu.org.uk/strikefor uss those who dedicate their life to the education of students is the cornerstone of a sustainable and effective education system.” “The role of universities in our societies NTEU National President. Jeannie Rea are more important than ever, and yet we pledged NTEU support for UCU’s camare seeing the undermining of universities paign to maintain the right to a guaranas sites of democratic and accountable teed pension for academic and professioncollaboration between staff, students and al staff. the community in the interests of narrow corporate agendas,” she concluded. “These constant attacks upon education workers’ salaries and conditions of work More info: ucu.org.uk/strikeforuss are widespread and show a total lack of Below: UCU members at a USS dispute meeting in understanding or respect for the crucial Nottingham. Source: UCU work of university staff.
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Secure Jobs News Changes to casual membership fees Casual NTEU membership fees are changing for the first time in 17 years. The move follows the 2017 NTEU National Council’s resolution to “…significantly increase the resources allocated to casual campaigns, services and industrial work.” New fee structure The new fee structure which comes into effect on 19 March 2018 and will be indexed by the average annual casual pay increases across the sector. The 2018 fees will be set according to the schedule outlined in Table 1. The fee structure maintains a significant discount for casual staff, recognising the considerable disadvantages faced due to a lack of job security. Unlike casual members, members on fixed term or continuing appointments pay a fee of 1% of income. The average annual income of casual members surveyed in 2016 was approximately $33,000. A fixed term or continuing member would pay $330 on this income compared to the fee of $208 for casual members.
More payment options
Table 1: New casual membership fees Estimated Annual Salary
Less than $20,000
$20,000 to $29,999
$30,000 to $49,999
$50,000 and over
facing precariously employed staff in our universities. This first casual fee change since 2001 will help the Union step up efforts to further the interests of our casual members. From this year, casual members will have a greater voice in our Union through the creation of dedicated representative positions on Branch Committees. These positions will be open only to casual members and voted for only by casual members. As NTEU members, casual staff can also nominate for other elected positions within the Union. Since casual fees were originally set in 2001 the Union has made job security and improving casual conditions a priority. Achievements in this regard include; • Pay rises of close to 65% (average across the sector). • An increase in the casual loading from 20% to 25%. • The requirement to pay all marking separately from the tutorial and lecture rates (academic staff ). • Conversion mechanisms for casual staff with over 1,000 new contract or ongoing jobs created specifically for casual staff.
• Access to parental leave for long-term, ‘regular’ casuals, paid carers leave and leave for dealing with domestic violence. Significant workplace enforcement campaigns have also returned thousands of dollars of pay to Union members where systematic underpayment has been found.
Benefits of membership In addition to the commitments to casual staff outlined above, NTEU membership also provides a range of important benefits including: • Advice and assistance regarding your rights and responsibilities. • Our full range of industrial support (membership is less expensive than a lawyer!). • Regular publications, news and information. • Access to a wide range of services and benefits. For details, see www.nteu.org. au/join/benefits. Andrew MacDonald, Media & Communications Officer For more information on how the casual fee changes might affect you: www.unicasual.org.au/fees
As part of the introduction of this new fee structure, monthly and quarterly payment options are available to make payment more flexible. Previously, all casual members have been required to pay their fees either half-yearly or annually. In addition, casual members can now pay by direct debit, as well as credit card. If you are a casual members who has just paid your casual fees up front, prior to the fee changes taking effect, you do not need to pay anything extra. Your next payment will reflect the new fee amount. Similarly, if you have recently received an invoice, only the amount stated on the invoice is required to be paid. The next invoice you receive will reflect the updated rates.
Commitment to casuals With over 3,000 casual members, NTEU has been working to address the issues
Above: Deakin National Councillor and casual member, Audrey Statham, introducing the casual fee rise motion at 2017 National Council. Image: Jeannie Rea
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Secure Jobs News SuperCasuals ACT launched February saw the launch of SuperCasuals ACT. We held two meetings of casually employed university staff – one at the University of Canberra and the other at ANU – to hear first-hand what conditions were like for casually employed staff in ACT universities. These meetings followed a survey NTEU ACT Division launched late last year, and submissions we made to the ACT Government’s ‘Inquiry into the extent, nature and consequence of insecure work in the ACT’.
The meetings were great, even if the stories people were sharing of insecure work were not. The willingness to engage discussions about precarious work in our sector was encouraging, and puts us in a good position to campaign over 2018.
How can being a casual member of th e NTEU benefit you? Advice
ive can rece embers ce NTEU m their workpla s advice on ts, or problem en r ei em ng th entitl ise duri ar h ic h w ment. employ
Lachlan Clohesy, ACT Division Organiser We’re looking for people to be part of a casual activist committee to set the agenda and progress the campaign throughout the year. If you’re interested please contact Lachlan:
Be part vement a of a mo n with
ive unio r progress anding up fo st We’re a r cord of d of ou proud re ice. We’re prou es, st su social ju on LGBTIQ+ is d an ce on ti stan presenta A&TSI re t for refugee suppor rights.
firstname.lastname@example.org 0418 493 355
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COMMITTED. TALENTED. EXPLOITED.
NTEU calls on Deakin to make a commitment to casuals At Deakin University, like everywhere else in higher education, casuals are a hardworking and talented group of staff who go above and beyond to provide quality education to students. Last year NTEU started a secure work campaign called “Keeping it casual, Not OK. Make a commitment Deakin” to highlight the issues facing casual staff. Keeping staff on insecure employment means they: • Don’t get sufficient resources to do a good job. • Don’t have enough time to provide student consultation. • Perform a high volume of unpaid work.
Keeping it Casual... NOT OK Make a commitment, Deakin!
casuals.org.au Join the campaign at www.super
• Don’t get sick leave, or any other paid leave that comes with secure employment.
academic staff, however, there is still a lot of room for improvement in conversion rights to secure work.
Welcome to Deakin for 2018 Why is itUniversity important for Deakin • Don’t get 17% superannuation.
NTEU Swinburne University Branch is a good example of what we have achieved for casual academics. NTEU succeeding to make aComing commitment? in winningHere conversion rights for teachto university is an exciting experience! you ing focused casual staff. Now, casual/ will discover new worlds and make friends, but it can also be It’s important for quality education, sessional at Swinburne can apply challenging. You may be living on baked beans staff and noodles for it’s important for casual staff for career for conversion after teaching 72 hours or the next 3 years and you will owe thousands of dollars in student progression and job satisfaction, and it’s tuition fees when you leave. You deserve the support more ofbest lectures andfrom tutorials in the three important for the community. university staff. consecutive years. There are more than 7000 casual staff has cut funding to universities. Yet the Turnbull Government If we can win at Swinburne, we can win at Deakin University, have negative been consequences for the support you These cutsmany may have secure work rights at other universities. a student receive, as Deakin working for as years without any prospect ofis likely to look for ways to reduce costs.progression. Reduced funding already Job means that staff secure workstaff or career security can workloads only be improved are very high, or that staff are employed on a casual basis. for more ongoing through campaigning Commitment is not a one-way street, The NTEU* are concerned students won’t receive theroles support they current and fixed term to replace Deakin should reciprocate by providing deserve, or need, because staff don’t have sufficient time to provide casual positions. genuine opportunities for career progresit, or because staff are not employed securely, and so aren’t always sion and secure workwhen to its students committed, Gaurav Nanda, Recruitment & available need them. That’s why we’re campaigning talented, and casualand staff. Organiser to to hardworking improve resources for Deakin Campaign to make a commitment casuals by employing staff securely. If you would like to join the campaign
What can NTEU do?
For casual professional staff, the Union has secured wins in many universities. Casual professional staff now have strong conversion rights that provide opportunities for stable and secure employment. For casual
or have any queries about conversion or other issues affecting casual staff in Victoria, please contact Gaurav Nanda: email@example.com
COMMITTED. TALENTED. EXPLOITED. NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 25 no. 1 • March 2018 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 17 GaURav NaNDa - NTEU viCToRiaN DivisioN RECRUiTmENT aND CampaiGN oRGaNisER 120 ClaRENDoN sTREET, soUTH mElBoURNE viC 3205 moBilE: 0422272091 GNaNDa@NTEU.oRG.aU
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander News Invasion Day rallies grow in size and voice For the past few years, Invasion Day rallies have continued to grow in size and this year’s gatherings were no different. In Melbourne, crowds were estimated to have been up to 60,000 people, with record numbers noted in all capital cities and some regional centres. It appears that we are in a time where awareness on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander matters has increased and more people from the general community are taking a stand for a fairer tomorrow. Additionally, political parties are engaging more in these discussions with statements and policy platforms released. When it comes to these statements though, many of them tend to fall short or misrepresent the reasons Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people protest on the 26/1. 2018 is a big year for anniversaries. This year’s Invasion Day rally took place on the 230th anniversary of the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove; or, as rally organisers put it, 230 years of resistance against colonisation. In addition, 80 years ago, the Day of Mourning protest was
held in Sydney, led by the Aborigines Progressive Association and the Australian Aboriginal League. On this day, while Aboriginal people from Western NSW were rounded up by authorities and forced to “re-enact” the landing by apparently running away comically from the white settlers, a group of people dressed in funeral garments walked from Sydney Town Hall to Australia House to meet and endorse a resolution calling for full citizenship rights, the end for the mistreatment of Aboriginal people, and a number of other demands. On revisiting these two anniversaries in consideration of the theme of this year’s Invasion Day rallies, it was all too clear just how much Aboriginal and Torres Strait people are still resisting colonisation and calling for the same rights we have been for decades. While citizenship rights exist now, the right to be treated as equals is still far off.
When you consider programs such as the NT Intervention, which specifically removed civil rights from Aboriginal people, and the Community Development Program, which is specifically targeted to communities predominantly populated by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we see that the right to earn wages for work, to manage one’s own affairs and to not be treated as if still under wardship acts are very much part of the national landscape. The staunch activism shown by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over several years has been crucial in reshaping the discussion and bringing their fellow citizens along for the ride. We have seen an active presence against the forced closure of Aboriginal communities, the disbandment of the government-funded Recognise campaign in preference for discussions based around proper rights such as sovereignty and the negotiation of treaties, the incarceration of Aboriginal children, and so forth. And from these actions, we have seen the general public buy in creating the groundswell we see on Invasion Day. This forces the hands of political parties lest they seem out-of-touch. Yet the buy-in has been limited. “Change the date” campaigns have gained traction with several local councils deciding to remove Australia Day celebrations from their calendars and The Greens, in particular, championing this as a policy platform. Changing the date of Australia Day though is not the key reason why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people protest on the day. Without the recognition of sovereignty and other rights in the form of treaties, along with a truth-telling process to ensure that injustices are not repeated, the only thing changing the date will achieve
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Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander News
will be the celebration of colonisation and genocide on an alternate date. The proposal of the Referendum Council for an Indigenous Advisory body to Parliament was a conservative proposal compared to the calls for treaties, yet Turnbull’s outright rejection of this body states just how unprepared the Australian Government is to engage in any discussions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, let alone acknowledge our rights. NTEU has long supported the right for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to assert their sovereignty and our calls for treaties. In a time when these discussions are being watered down in favour of
seemingly progressive band-aid solutions, or via outright conservative refusal, it is important these discussions and actions are supported by the movement and not shelved for mainstream convenience.
This page, above: Display of posters and props at the intersection of Bourke and Spring Streets prior to the Invasion Day march in Melbourne.
As a union devoted to education, the acknowledgement of histories and issues in the present times and in the hope of a positive and collaborative tomorrow for all is our driving force. We will continue to support the calls for treaties, truth-telling and reparations, and will continue to march in solidarity on Invasion Day.
Opposite page: Gathering at the intersection of Flinders and Swanston St at the end of the Invasion Day march in Melbourne.
Below: Flowers of remembrance laid on the steps of Victoria’s Parliament House.
Credits: Celeste Liddle, Paul Clifton
Celeste Liddle, National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Organiser www.nteu.org.au/atsi
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 25 no. 1 • March 2018 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 19
Just before the end of last year, the Department of Education released the 2017 university staffing data1, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (A&TSI) staffing data showing an increase in the number and full-time equivalence (FTE) from 2016 reported figures. Data for Table A and Table B providers shows that total A&TSI employment (academic and general/professional fixedterm and continuing staff ) sits at 1,337 headcount and 1,203 FTE. This is an overall increase of 109 headcount and 89 FTE. Academic positions held by A&TSI staff in 2017 increased by 41 headcount to 440 and by 34 FTE to 392. Viewed as a percentage of the increase in all academic positions reported in 2017 (1,397 headcount and 699 FTE), A&TSI were reported as holding 2.9% headcount and 4.9% FTE of all academic positions nationally to May 2017. Worryingly, of the total national increase in academic positions at all Table A and Table B providers in 2017 it could be viewed crudely that all newly appointed academic staff employed have been offered 0.5 contracts only; leaving job security and increased hours of employment very much to the sideline. A&TSI General and Professional staffing numbers also increased from 2016 data, with an additional 68 headcount (55 FTE) staff employed in HEW/HEO level positions. Trend data shows that increases in A&TSI employment have typically been seen in general/professional staff roles, although and significantly the overall increase in A&TSI staffing in the 2017 reporting year was split at 62% general/professional and
1400 1300 1200 1100 1000 900 800 700 600 500 400 20 00 20 01 20 02 20 03 20 04 20 05 20 06 20 07 20 08 20 09 20 10 20 11 20 12 20 13 20 14 20 15 20 16 20 17
More Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander staff in universities, but...
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander News
Figure 1: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staffing Trend (2000 to 2017) 38% academic staff. The average academic/general/professional staff split for A&TSI employment over the past 16 years has averaged around 72% general/professional and 28% academic staff. As a percentage of all staff reported by Table A and B providers in 2017, A&TSI staff comprised 1.1% headcount and FTE. This is well short of the 3% A&TSI employment target stipulated in the 2017 Indigenous Student Assistance Grants guidelines2 from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
NTEU persists in numeric targets in Enterprise Agreements The NTEU A&TSI Caucus determined at the 2017 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander National Forum that Round 7 bargaining teams negotiate or continue their negotiations to see an increase in the numeric target for A&TSI employment at their Branch. The work of the A&TSI Caucus, the Policy Committee and the NTEU as a whole to increase A&TSI employment across all Australian higher education providers, has proven to be an unqualified success to date. In Round 7 bargaining NTEU bargaining teams have witnessed many on the management side wanting to reduce significantly or remove in their entirety, all elements of their A&TSI employment
clause from the Enterprise Agreement and into internal policy. The increase in A&TSI employment has and continues to be driven by NTEU and this campaign will continue to hold place as an item of unfinished business on the NTEU agenda. To attain a target of 3% nationally for A&TSI employment (and assuming no additional employment across the higher education sector) an additional 2,363 headcount or 1,997 FTE. With the Turnbull Governments funding cuts impacting the Australian higher education sector the true measure of a universities commitment to increase A&TSI employment will be seen. With over 30% of A&TSI specific funding being cut from the 2017-18 Budget and forward estimates, the university management mantra of a whole of university approach to A&TSI students and staff will be put to the ultimate test. Adam Frogley, National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Coordinator
References 1. Department of Education. (2017) University Staffing Data. Retrieved from https://www.education.gov. au/staff-data (February 2018). 2. Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. (2017). Indigenous Student Assistance Guidelines. Retrieved from https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/ F2017L00036 (February 2018).
Also in this issue of Advocate:
NTEU commits to 10 point plan p.50 First Nations Workers Alliance p.52
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Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander News Roll out of budget cuts to Indigenous student assistance While the big ticket items in the last Federal Budget remain in debate and the headlines, the funding cuts to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student support are quietly being implemented. The adverse consequences are already being felt by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, students and their support units as funding cuts and the impact of the revised Indigenous Student Assistance Grants (ISAG) take hold. The roll out of funding from the Indigenous Student Assistance Grants via the Indigenous Student Success Program (ISSP) has seen a substantive change in the way funding is allocated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and the ways in which funding is provided for scholarships and tutorial assistance. The Indigenous Student Success Program combines three former funding lines specifically allocated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student support. The former Indigenous Support Program (ISP), Commonwealth Scholarships Program (CSP) and the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme – Tertiary Tuition (ITASTT) now form the Indigenous Student Success Program and bring with it touted greater freedom to universities and higher education providers in the provision of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student support. While greater freedom exists for universities and higher education providers under the Indigenous Student Success Program, the 2017-18 Federal Budget bought with it a raft of funding cuts and efficiency dividends reducing the overall budget line for the Indigenous Student Assistance Grants and subsequently the Indigenous Student Success Program. Firstly, a three per cent efficiency dividend totalling $2.3m was applied to the Indige-
nous Student Assistance Grants from the 2016-17 to 2017-18 Federal Budgets. On top of this, and what was not immediately evident, were the actual and projected additional funding cuts across three budget cycles from 2015-16 to 2017-18. When funding allocations (budgeted and in forward estimates) from the three former funding lines was tallied, a total of $23.2m was removed from the previously budgeted forward estimates. By way of further example, the 2018-19 allocation in the 2015-16 budget forward estimates showed a total allocation of $75.7m. In the same budget period (2018-19) from the 2017-18 budget forward estimates projected an allocation of $69.1m – this unfortunately is but one example. The way in which the total allocation to universities and higher education providers is calculated has also changed, with a 30/30/30/10 funding split (30% Enrolment, 30% Success, 30% Completion and 10% Regional/Remote) where the 10% Regional/Remote remains with the student no matter where they choose to study and will follow the student throughout their tertiary level studies. To ensure continued enrolment, retention, completion and graduation success for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, a greater ongoing funding allocation paid on a calendar year basis must be attributed to the Indigenous Student Assistance Grants in the upcoming Federal Budget and across future Budget cycles. NTEU is lobbying to ensure greater attention is paid to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student support and subsequent funding appropriate to achieve increasing enrolment, retention and completion of their undergraduate and postgraduate degree level courses. NTEU calls for a restoration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student support funding to that of the 2018-19 forward estimates from the 2015-16 Federal Budget or $75.7m, with future Budget cycles to ensure total funding under the Indigenous Student Assistance Grants does not fall below this level. NTEU and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy Committee membership will work to ensure discussion on student support and appropriate funding remains a priority in the lead-up to the 2018-19 Federal Budget. Adam Frogley, National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Coordinator www.nteu.org.au/atsi
Treaty commitment by NSW ALP In the lead-up to the NSW state election this year, the Labor Party has announced a policy platform of “inking treaties” with Aboriginal people. The announcement was made by state leader Luke Foley on Australia Day, along with his pledge to fly the Aboriginal flag permanently on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This matches similar statements made by the Shorten Opposition in the lead-up to the tenth anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations. It additionally is in line with other movements made by the Labor Party in Victoria, NT, Tasmania and South Australia toward treaty discussions. The NTEU acknowledges these moves by the ALP to engage with proper discussions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We additionally acknowledge the work undertaken by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander unionists to move these discussions from the sidelines they have resided on since the Hawke administration reneged on their promise of treaties in the 1980s. It’s with cautious optimism that we view these pledges though. Treaties must not go down the line of symbolism nor should they get stuck on matters of service provision which the rest of the country takes for granted. They must be robust; addressing the unfinished businesses of land rights, cultural rights and reparations. The ALP’s track record on Indigenous matters is not glowing, and treaty discussions held in other states thus far have often been met with frustration as Indigenous community members feel sidelined in preference for the Government’s agenda. Yet as the state with the highest population, and as the scene of the beginning of the colonisation of this continent, it’s good news that providing there’s a change of government, NSW may be looking to come to the table at long last.
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 25 no. 1 • March 2018 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 21
Funding freeze & the higher education ice age
Photo credit: Matthew Gibson /123rf
In late December 2017, the Turnbull Coalition Government announced that it was abandoning core aspects of its higher education reform package.1 In effect the Government has waved the white flag on policies related to the number and allocation of government supported university places.
Unable to convince Parliament of the merits of its reforms, but desperate to consolidate the savings they were budgeted to deliver, the Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, used a provision in the Higher Education Support Act 2003, to freeze the level of Commonwealth Grants Scheme (CGS) funding each university would receive to educate government supported students (CSPs) at 2017 levels. And while CGS funding will increase in line with increases in the working age population from 2020, these additional funds will be distributed on the basis of yet to be determined performance criteria. The announcement means that the Government has walked away from the Demand Driven System (DDS) and the level of funding a university receives for educating government supported students will no longer be tied to the number and disciplinary composition of their student cohort. But equally as important, the announcement means that CGS funding will no longer be indexed to compensate universities for increased costs or increased to allow better access and improved participation rates.
Paul Kniest Policy & Research Coordinator
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In other words, the funding universities receive to educate government supported domestic undergraduate students has been frozen and will no longer reflect the number of students they educate or in-
A. Assumes: 1. Indexation of 2% per annum 2. Increase in enrolments equivalent to increase in 18-64 year old population estimates
B. Assumes: 1. Funding frozen at 2017 level for 2018 and 2019 values 2. Increase in funding from 2020 tied to increase in 18-64 year old population estimates
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
Figure 1: Impact of Funding Freeze on CGS Funding ($billion) creases to allow for rising costs or student numbers. Welcome to the higher education ice age! The Government’s policy capitulation came after it conceded that it did not have the support of the Senate cross bench for its latest tranche of so-called higher education reforms which would have seen students pay more and universities get less to educate them. This was the third strike against government higher education policies. While Birmingham’s reforms were a long way away from the simplistic and crude deregulatory framework first proposed by Christopher Pyne in 2014, they nonetheless, had at their foundation in significant budgetary savings rather than policies aimed at strengthening the quality of higher education system.
Higher education policy vacated to deliver budget savings This funding freeze and policy void have created a very different and stark operating environment for higher education. This will have very significant consequences on universities, staff, students and the communities they serve. While these consequences in no way could be considered as unintentional, at this stage they remain largely unknown. The future shape of Australian higher education will now be largely a function of how universities respond to this new environment. As discussed below these decisions will probably come down to a trade-off between the quality of the education experience vs the quantity of students enrolled. The irony of course is that the Minister is handing over control of these critical
public interest policy decisions to the vice-chancellors of our universities, a group for whom the Minister has shown such disdain in recent months. From the NTEU’s perspective, given their recent strong support for full fee deregulation, this is like letting a herd of woolly mammoths loose in the very important and delicate higher education space.
Universities’ response to the funding freeze The Government’s latest position was announced as part of the 2017-18 MYEFO released on 18 December 2018.2 In summary these will: • Slash the value of public investment in our universities by freezing the value of Commonwealth Grants Scheme (CGS) funding at 2017 levels in 2018 and 2019. • Affect regional and outer metropolitan universities most severely because they are more reliant on public funding, and • Provide a massive disincentive for universities to enrol additional students in STEM disciplines which have the highest level of public funding per student. As noted above, the critical question now is how universities respond to this changed environment. Will they respond by maintaining the quality of education by limiting the number of students they enrol? Will they try to maintain or increase the number of students they enrol, by seeking to reduce costs? Will they try to alleviate the impact of the funding freeze by changing the disciplinary cohort of their student body? Depending on how universities respond we may end up with a situation where we have tens of thousands of eligible students unable to gain entry into a university, or a
situation where there is a major mismatch between what universities are offering and what students want to study, or a situation where the quality of the education, and/ or student support services are highly compromised. The implications for staff are equally unknown and will probably involve one or more of increased workloads, job losses, less secure employment, or being placed in a position where they are unable to deliver the quality or quantity of education or support that students need and deserve.
Impact on public investment The impact of the funding freeze of undergraduate Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) delivered through the CGS is shown in Figure 1. The business as usual (pre-freeze) scenario shown in Figure 1 is based on highly conservative estimates of indexation and growth in student load. The data in Figure 1 shows that the value of the cut in public investment increases rapidly and amounts to billions of dollars per annum by the early 2020s. While it is difficult to know what implications such cuts will have on student enrolments it is worth noting that Universities Australia is estimating that the cut to public investment in 2018 alone, equates to something in the order of 10,000 full time equivalent (FTE) student places. We also know that the cuts will affect the number of places and scope of courses offered by some universities, with the Australian Catholic University (ACU) already indicating it will significantly streamline the number of programs it will offer in coming years. continued over page...
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 25 no. 1 • March 2018 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 23
44.6% 44.3% 40.9% 40% 38.9% 38% 37.1% 36.2% 36.2% 35.3% 32.7% 32.5% 32.2% 31.9% 31.7% 31.5% 31.5% 31.5% 30.4% 30% 28.6% 27.8% 26.2% 26% 26% 25.1% 24.7% 24.5% 24.1% 23.2% 20.8% 20.3% 18.8% 17.8% 17% 16% 14.6% 12.7%
Higher education funding
USQ ACU UWS SUN UNE UND UTAS SCU ECU CSU CQU CAN LAT USA FLI JCU NEW VU GRI DEA QUT CUR WOLL FUA MUR UTS SWI RMIT CDU ANU MAC ADE UQ UWA MON UNSW SYD MELB
Figure 2: Commonwealth Grants Scheme (CGS) Funding as Share of Total Income by Institution 2016 Source: Dept of Education and Training (2018) Finance Publication 2016 (www.education.gov.au/finance-publication)
Regional and outer metropolitan universities hardest hit
ciplines which tend to attract the highest Commonwealth contributions.
The impact of the funding freeze will not impact evenly on all universities. Figure 2 shows the proportion of total revenue each university received through the CGS in 2016.
The funding freeze dramatically alters the environment in which universities operate. While it is impossible to predict exactly how universities will respond, in general terms their response is likely to involve some trade-off between the quality of the education they offer and the number of students they enrol. While the Minister’s claim that universities will be able to make up the short fall in funding by efficiencies through reducing marketing costs or vice-chancellors’ salaries might make good political rhetoric, unfortunately it has little to do with reality.
While the CGS accounted for about one in four dollars (24.7%) of total sector revenue in 2016, this varied considerably between universities. Universities that are more reliant on CGS funding will be affected more heavily and as Figure 2 shows, these are outer urban or regional universities. These are the universities that also tend to have the highest proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and from families without previous experience of higher education participation.
STEM disciplines hardest hit The funding freeze effectively means that a university will not receive the Commonwealth contribution for any additional enrolments above its 2017 load that chooses to enrol in 2018 and 2019. The value of the Commonwealth contribution however varies significantly between disciplines. For example the Commonwealth contribution for each additional law student a university enrols is about $2,000, whereas this is about $18,000 worse off for each additional engineering, surveying or science student, and in excess of $23,000 for additional students enrolled in medicine and agricultural science. Therefore, there is a major disincentive for universities to take on additional students in STEM related dis-
How will universities respond?
Where universities attempt to maintain or even increase their enrolments, they will need to find savings in costs associated with teaching and student support. The consequences are likely to include any or all of the following: • job losses • heavier workloads • even greater reliance on casual staff • larger classes • fewer face-to-face class hours, and/or • reduced student support services. Alternatively, universities might seek to emphasise the quality of their offerings and cap or even reduce the number of students they enrol or by changing the composition of their student cohort to least affected disciplines, then the more
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likely consequences will be: • the re-emergence of unmet student demand, and/or • limited student choice especially in STEM and health courses.
The way forward It’s not good enough for the Government to put higher education policy in the too hard basket and effectively cede control to the whims of individual universities. The very characteristics of Australia’s public higher education system which are envied internationally will struggle to survive through this government imposed policy ice age. Australia needs a policy framework that is sustainable not only from the Government’s point of view, but also for institutions and individuals. The emphasis needs to be placed on the quality of the education provided and student outcomes rather than on the cost to the budget. We need a well-planned and managed funding and regulatory framework administered by an independent statutory authority, which makes universities accountable and which also ensures there is a degree of coordination between what is being offered and the needs of society and the economy. 1. See Parliament of Australia (Carol Ey) 2017-18 Budget Review Higher Education Reform. https:// www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/ BudgetReview201718/HigherEducationReform 2. 2017-18 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) statement.
NTEU proposes code of open & ethical uni governance In an environment where industry collaborations are rewarded, and the risks of improper conduct are tangible, it is timely to reflect on the people deemed to govern. By university governance, I refer not only to management of university finances, but strategic direction and expression of the university’s values. What roles do university councillors/senators play and what rules do they play by?
The discussion paper also highlights the spate of state legislative changes that have championed “corporate governance” models and unilaterally attacked elected representation in governance forums. In 2017, the passage of two state Acts targeted elected representatives.
To address these questions, in late 2017 the NTEU’s Police and Research Unit produced the discussion paper Towards Open and Ethical Governance.
These should be norms typified by the right of Union members such as Professor Margaret Sims to participate on governing councils without the assumption of a conflict of interest. The argument made against Sims, that union membership is a standing conflict of interest, borders on the absurd when you consider that investigations into improper conduct over the last five years have returned to ex-officio members, like former UQ Vice-Chancellor Paul Greenfield who improperly got his daughter into the University’s medicine program in 2013, or former Murdoch Vice-Chancellor Richard Higgott who was found for serious misconduct after appointing a friend to a senior post, and
The discussion paper outlines some important facts and figures about what has happened in this policy space over the last twenty years. Two-thirds of all chancellors (66%) came from the ‘private sector’ in 2016, a figure that excludes those who had run government corporations or statutory bodies. Eight universities had councils where more than 50% of members came from private industry.
South Australian legislation forcibly reduced the minimum size of councils at Flinders and the University of Adelaide. In Queensland, state legislation reduced staff and student representation at James Cook University, with the intention that changes could be extended across the state. Amongst the many problems in the rise of corporate governance models is the fact that this solution realises corporate “efficiency” by reducing public accountability. The NTEU discussion paper calls for feedback on a draft NTEU Code of Open and Ethical University Governance. The purpose of such a Code is to define the attributes of good governance for all governing body members, not just elected members, and to press for more open and ethical governance norms.
accessing adult material on his university computer in 2016. The draft NTEU code highlights principles absent from the UCC’s 2010 Voluntary Code of Best Practice for the Governance of Australian Universities, and names four key alternative commitments. These are: • Australian universities as institutions established in the public interest and for public purposes. • I nstitutional autonomy and academic freedom as essential to the work of universities. • T he necessity for openness and transparency in governance for the protection of academic freedom and institutional autonomy. • T he right and professional responsibility of university staff and students to participate in university councils and to criticise the function of their institutions – a task best served by democratic processes and the election of staff and student representatives. We are looking for feedback from NTEU members, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org For a copy of the NTEU’s Discussion Paper Towards Open and Ethical Governance: www.nteu.org.au/article/NTEU%27s2017-University-Governance-discussionpaper-20044 NTEU is holding a conference on accountability of university councils in September, and workshops for NTEU members on councils and academic boards in May. For workshop information, contact the Union Education Unit: email@example.com
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 25 no. 1 • March 2018 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 25
Our industrial laws are broken
Time to change the rules If you have been hiding under a rock for the past 6 months, you may not have noticed that the ACTU has been spearheading a new campaign to “Change the Rules”. This campaign is about recognising that the past 20 years or so of industrial regulation have delivered working people a decrease in economic equality, diminished access to real, permanent jobs and a reduction in purchasing power.
The past 20 years have increased employers’ capacity to access wage theft, and discriminate against those exercising union power. The ACTU’s campaign is about calling this unfairness out, saying the rules are broken, and that it’s time to change those rules.
To what, you might ask? To answer this question, the ACTU has been meeting with affiliates over the last 18 months, and working up a detailed legislative plan. Key aspects of this plan tackle obvious target areas to improve the lot of working people, such as: • The industrial system should cover all forms of work, not just traditional employees e.g. gig workers, Uber drivers, individual contractors. • The system should have a fair and effective safety net (Award) including a living wage.
Photo credit: lightwise/123rf
• Creation of new rights should be possible, through genuine arbitration (e.g. domestic violence leave, equal pay orders).
Sarah Roberts National Industrial Coordinator
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• Bargaining should be possible on an industry basis, or on other levels as determined by employees.
• There should be easier access to industrial action, with a real right to strike for better conditions of employment. • We should have positive rights for our delegates and union officials, including right of entry, and real protections from discrimination.
Le t ’ s
• There should be better access to permanent employment for casuals and fixed term employees. • No more non-union Agreements. • A fair and objective independent umpire. If we achieve all these measures, working people will undoubtedly be better off. But it is unclear what the fate of working people’s unions will be.
Why should we care about union survival? As at August 2016, union density in Australia hit 15%, the outcome of steady decline from our peak of 64.9% in 1948.1 Whilst the proportion of union members in any given workplace is not necessarily determinative of the level of union power, this figure is nonetheless a handy proxy for union strength. Union strength is important in turn because it is through the exercise of this power that we can collectively achieve and maintain better conditions for working people. Without strong unions, any improvements to our workplace laws that we achieve through the Change the Rules campaign can only be ephemera, subject to entropy. Individual workers may, for a time, be better off. But without collective defence of those newly-won rights, neoliberal employers (acting in their own best economic interests) will find a way to diminish those rights – just as we saw in the aftermath of the Fair Work Act, which was heralded at the time as being the saviour for working people. Over the period of that Act’s operation, our weakened union movement has not been able to successfully defend employer attacks.
The case for union self-interest – collective strength Besides campaigning for any new Act to have unions and collective organising at its philosophical centre, we need to tackle the “free-rider problem” that exists in our movement. In economic terms, the free-rider problem is a market failure that occurs when people take advantage of being able to use a common resource, or collective good, without paying for it.2 In unions, the free-rider problem manifests as unions engaging in, and winning, new Awards and Agreements that provide pay increases and improved conditions of em-
Authorised by S. McManus, ACTU Secretary, 365 Queen St, Melbourne 3000. ACTU D No. 93
ployment to all employees – regardless of whether they are union members or not. Most members who have asked a non-member colleague to join the union will have been met with the response that the employee “didn’t need to join the union as they received the benefits anyway.” This is frustrating, but unfortunately under the current industrial framework, not joining a union is actually a rational economic choice. The union movement could dramatically improve its power in the workplace by addressing this single issue, which happily just reflects the better moral and ethical position. That is, if we all benefit from the provision of a collective good or service, we should all contribute to the cost of producing that good or service. This is an argument our society unquestioningly accepts when it comes to garbage collection, say, or body corporate fees: if you receive the benefit, you should pay towards the cost. The additional funds tackling the free rider problem would bring in would enable us to employ more organisers to further build our presence in every workplace, and to radically strengthen activism and power in the workplace. With this approach we could achieve a truly powerful workplace presence; once where even the most aggressive management would hesitate before doing their worst. What would this look like in a union? Part of our legislative “asks” in the Change the Rules campaign could be to require all
employees to pay a “bargaining agents’ fee” (set at the same cost as union membership) wherever a Collective Agreement was reached by a union on their behalf. This is a model supported recently by no less than the President of the ALP Mark Butler in a speech on 2 February. In it he said “as all economists know, leaving a “free rider” situation unaddressed will usually mean that the ever-diminishing pool of contributors falls below a critical mass – with the result that the benefits disappear altogether and everyone ends up worse off.” 3 So there is clearly an appetite at least amongst some in the leadership of the Labor Party to address the free rider problem in unions. The ACTU should grasp this opportunity and make tackling this issue a central claim for the Change the Rules campaign. This is the only way we can definitively reverse the decline in collective power in the workplace. www.nteu.org.au/changetherules www.australianunions.org.au/ change_the_rules 1. Bowden, B. (2011). “The Rise and Decline of Australian Unionism: A History of Industrial Labour from the 1820s to 2010”, Labour History, 100, pp. 51-82 2. Investopedia. “Free Rider Problem” [Blog post] Retrieved from https://www.investopedia.com/ terms/f/free_rider_problem.asp 3. Butler, M. (2018). “The Future of Unions in Australia and the Implications for Labor”, Speech to the Australia Institute, 2 February 2018.
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 25 no. 1 • March 2018 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 27
State of the Uni Survey
University staff have their say The second NTEU State of the Uni survey was conducted in May/June 2017. In this the second Advocate report on the survey results, we cover respondents’ views on working conditions, job satisfaction and voting intentions.
has a responsibility to invest in higher education”; in 2017, this was 97.2%. In 2015, 91.8% agreed that, “Government should provide sustainable funding for the sector”; in 2017, this was 90.2%.
The number of completed responses was more than double the number in the 2015 survey, increasing from about 6,400 in 2015 to over 13,500 in 2017. The 6,736 responses from staff who identified as non-union members represents 49% of the total.
Privatisation, high executive pay and increasing student fees continue to have negligible support across the sector. In 2015, 7.7% agreed that, “Private providers should receive similar public funding to that provided to public universities”. In 2017, this remains low at 9.3%.
Staff continue to have concerns about the financial pressures faced by the sector and its impact on the quality of education. In 2015, 87.5% agreed that, “Universities are under too much pressure to make money and this is reducing the quality of education”. In 2017, this remained a key priority at 84.1%. In 2015, 80.8% agreed that, “Universities have become too corporate in their outlook”. In 2017, this was almost identical at 79.8%.
Furthermore, the proportion of staff who In comparing 2015 and 2017, the views agreed that, “Private providers have a of many staff about the higher education legitimate role in delivering tertiary edusector have remained consistent irrespeccation” has dropped from 34.6% to 27.2%. tive of changes to public policy or the Only 16.6% of staff agreed “Executive staff industrial environment. It remains clear at my university receive salaries that are that staff overwhelmingly support the role appropriate for the work they do”, almost of government in providing sustainable, unchanged from 16.4% in 2015. Over a public investment in higher education. In TOTAL RESPONSES AND DEMOGRAPHICS quarter (26.8%) of staff agreed “It is rea2015, 93.8% agreed that, “The government
sonable that students pay at least half the cost of their education”, an increase from 24% in 2015.
Perceptions of working conditions are improving, but sector remains under strain Employment conditions continue to be a major concern for higher education staff. However, the 2017 survey results suggest that staff have an improved view of their employment conditions, compared to 2015. For instance, while only 47.7% agreed that, “I can maintain a good balance between work and other aspects of my life”, this represents a 5.5 percentage point improvement compared to 2015. Likewise while only 45.4% agreed that, “My workload is manageable”, this represents a 4.7% improvement compared to 2015. Regardless of these marginal improvements, survey responses clearly suggest that higher education is a sector under strain. Only 27% of staff agreed, “My university provides as good or better standard of education now than they did 5 years ago”. This has improved compared to 2015, when 22.1% of staff agreed with this. One of the largest overall shifts in attitude was in relation to the claim, “Staff and students have an important role on university councils and senates”. Overall,
The 2017 NTEU State of the Uni survey received a total of 15,384 usable responses. With an estimated survey distribution of 178,300 emails, this represented a response rate of 8.6%. The survey is intended to become the most comprehensive longitudinal study of TOTAL DEMOGRAPHICS attitudes RESPONSES and values held AND by Australian higher education staff. The 2017 NTEU State of the Uni survey received a total of 15,384 usable responses. With an estimated survey distribution of 178,300 emails, this represented a response rate of 8.6%. The survey is intended to become the most comprehensive longitudinal study of 61% Female 50% General/ 41% Academic attitudes and values held by Australian higher education staff. WA 9.3% Professional ongoing or NT 1.4% fixed term
QLD 6.8% 12.3% WA SA 9.3% NT 1.4% VIC 27.9% QLD SA 6.8% 12.3% NSW 33.2% TAS 2.9% VIC 27.9%
ACT 3.9% NSW 33.2%
Responses and TAS 2.9% came from all states ACT 3.9% territories. 61.1% of survey responses came from either NSW or Victoria.
Responses came from all states and territories. 61.1% of survey responses came from either NSW Victoria. page 28 • NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 25 no. 1 • or March 2018 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate
50% General/ 39% Male Professional
41% Academic ongoing or fixed term 9% Academic casual
51% Union members
9% Academic 49% Non members casual
51% Union members
49% Non members
State of the Uni Survey COALITION GOVERNMENT POLICIES Current Federal Government policy settings are taking Australian universities in the right direction
Coalition Government should increase student fees by 7.5% over 4 years
A budget cut is a good way to force universities to become more efficient
AGREE/STRONGLY AGREE: 8.8%
Coalition Government should reduce public university funding by $2.8b
Coalition Government should require students to begin repaying FEE-HELP repayments at $42,000 rather than $50,000
The changes are necessary to reduce the Federal Budget deficit
AGREE/STRONGLY AGREE: 10.9%
72.3% agreed in 2015, increasing to 83.8% in 2017. When asked to consider one thing that would improve higher education, the survey’s qualitative responses described a sector stretched to the limits to provide quality education with the immense growth of student enrolments and dependency on international student fees, and a workforce deeply unsympathetic to further funding cuts. Amongst the most recurrent recommendations was the call for free education, an issue that has had muted attention in higher education policy debates in Australia.
Job satisfaction now more widely associated with positive work relationships Overall, 73.2% of staff surveyed agreed that, “My work gives me satisfaction”. This increased marginally from 71.6% in 2015. Notably, there have been increases across all segments of staff analysed, whether male or female, academic or professional/ general, union or non-union.
In both 2015 and 2017 surveys participants were asked to list the three most important sources of job satisfaction. In 2015, 47.6% most commonly associated job satisfaction with an “Exciting and interesting work environment”. In 2017 this dropped to 41.5%. In contrast, “positive work relationships with colleagues” became the most common source of job satisfaction in 2017, rising from 42.8% to 52.2% – with significant increases across all sections of the workforce.
Voting intentions shift from Coalition to minor parties The State of the Uni survey asked in both 2015 and 2017 about voting intentions at the federal election previous to each survey and whether that has changed since. The 2017 survey response reveals that, while remaining very low, the Coalition benefited from a small increase in support at the 2016 election. However, while 10.8% of the sample said they voted for the Coalition in the House of Representatives in the 2016 election
this dropped to 8.3% if an election were to be held now. Likewise, 8.9% said they voted for the Coalition in the Senate in 2016, dropping to 7% now. The change in voter intention is more pronounced among swinging voters, with those voting for the Coalition in 2016 likely to drop from 15.2% to 9.8% in the House of Representatives and from 11.6% to 7.2% in the Senate. This shift in voting intentions however is not likely to benefit Labor or the Greens, who have also suffered minor losses of support since 2016. Minor party support (excluding the Greens) increased from 9.2% to 13.2% in the House of Representatives, and from 12.8% to 15.4% in the Senate.
Job security Staff overwhelmingly see job security as an important employment principle within the sector: 84% of the sample agreed that “Job security is important if intellectual freedom is to be protected”. In comparison, a majority of staff supported the statement, “Excessive reliance on casual continued over page...
VOTING INTENTION Change in all voters’ support for the Coalition at the next election
House of Reps
Change in swinging voters’ support for the Coalition at the next election
House of Reps
7% Next election
Change in all voters’ support for minor parties (excluding the Greens) at the next election
House of Reps
7.2% Next election
15.4% Next election
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 25 no. 1 • March 2018 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 29
State of the Uni Survey and fixed term employment by universities is affecting the quality of education” (65.7%).
ment. Job security was also the fourth most common source of job satisfaction, listed by 31.1% of respondents.
Michael Evans, National Organiser
Only 36% of staff agreed with the sentiment that, “My job feels secure”, and only 29.4% were satisfied with management’s performance in providing secure employ-
NTEU has released the first of a series of reports on the survey – an overview of the results. This will be followed by further reports during 2018.
Jen T. Kwok, Policy & Research Officer The initial report can be downloaded at:
UNIVERSITY STANDARDS Universities are under too much pressure to make money and this is reducing the quality of education
My university provides as good or better standard of education now than they did 5 years ago
AGREE/STRONGLY AGREE: 84.1% AGREE/STRONGLY AGREE: 27%
Universities have become too corporate in their outlook
AGREE/STRONGLY AGREE: 79.8%
University education should be free for all Australians
AGREE/STRONGLY AGREE: 55.9%
Universities have plenty of funding. They can absorb a funding cut without damaging the quality of education
AGREE/STRONGLY AGREE: 8.7%
WORKING LIFE My job feels secure
AGREE/STRONGLY AGREE: 36%
My workload is manageable
AGREE/STRONGLY AGREE: 45.4%
I can maintain a good balance between work and other aspects of my life
Academic staff who work more than 60 hours in a typical teaching week
AGREE/STRONGLY AGREE: 47.7%
Satisfied with management’s performance in relation to staff access to promotion and progression
Average hours of unpaid overtime worked in addition to 38 hour week
14.6 hr 6.2 hr
SENIOR MANAGEMENT Have confidence in senior management at my institution
Was consulted before decisions that affected me were made
AGREE/STRONGLY AGREE: 27.6%
AGREE/STRONGLY AGREE: 24.3%
Satisfied with the performance of senior management
Satisfied with management’s ability to manage change in the workplace
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Satisfied with staffing levels
Satisfied with management’s ability to provide secure employment
Australian Universities’ Review
Diamond years for academic journal Happy birthday to us; we’ve turned 60! Australian Universities’ Review (AUR) has been around since 1958 under one name or another. This makes it the longest-lived higher education journal in the country: an achievement to be proud of! The birth of AUR was not the only momentous occurrence in 1958. It was also the year that Johnny O’Keefe had his first Top 40 hit (“Wild One”), and when Bandstand was introduced to TV audiences. In higher education, 1958 was also the year of birth of Monash University and the National Institute of Dramatic Art. In science, 1958 was when the first ‘black box’ flight recorder was constructed by Dr David Warren of the Aeronautical Research Laboratories in Melbourne, and the year that the HIFAR nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights went critical for the first time. (What would we do without Wikipedia?) Journals develop and change over time, and it is interesting to read about where we came from. Former editor Simon Marginson wrote an excellent history of our journal when we notched up our half century, and I would urge all of you to seek it out and re-read it. You can find it on our website in the complete online archive – search for vol. 50, no. 2. AUR typically receives a wide range of material. Our aim is to encourage debate and discussion about issues in higher education, and we manage to publish papers from diverse sources, both scholarly research papers and opinion pieces. This issue, we have scholarly referred articles on study abroad, research impact, academic teams, PhD orals and alternative pathways into university.
We also present opinion pieces, and in this issue, you will find papers on what universities don’t do to promote learning; why we need to develop a sustainable academic workforce in paramedicine; and a light-hearted look at academic conferences, and the relative smartness of dress of conference convenors and delegates. We’re also quite big on book reviews, with this issue including seven reviews of recently published books. Quite often reviewers come up with extremely positive reactions to the books they review, but not always! According to reviewer Neil Mudford, a recent book about the University of New South Wales left much to be desired. His final words on the book are “… I suggest that anyone planning to buy the book should ensure they have a coffee table to put it on” (p. 72). AUR would like your contributions as well. Submit a scholarly paper for blind peer review, or a piece that expresses your
opinion about some aspect or other of our higher education sector. Ian R Dobson is editor of AUR www.aur.org.au
60 YEARS 1958–2018
Australian Universities’ Review NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 25 no. 1 • March 2018 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 31
Defending academic freedom Academic freedom is the cornerstone of a robust and healthy university system. Only fully democratic universities can pursue their missions of free and open enquiry and passionate social debate. Negate academic freedom and you effectively kill the university; and this, in turn, collapses one of the central pillars of a robust democratic society.
Dr Andrew Miller Senior Lecturer, Student Learning Centre, Flinders University NTEU Flinders Branch President page 32 • NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 25 no. 1 • March 2018 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate
What is academic freedom? A healthy university requires robust debate to constantly test and reinvent the knowledge and research it produces, and the structures and process that govern it. This ensures the education offered to students is rich, diverse, and unrestrained. All Australian universities have academic freedom enshrined in their Enterprise Agreements to protect democracy and debate. The Flinders University Enterprise Agreement, for instance, says all “staff members have a right to: (1) pursue critical and open inquiry, (2) participate in public debates and express opinions about issues and ideas related to their academic and professional areas; (3) participate in public debates about higher education issues as they affect their institution and higher education issues generally; [and] (4) participate in collegial processes within the University…” Importantly, it goes on to say that “Staff members have the right to express unpopular or controversial views without fear of harassment, intimidation or unfair treatment” (emphasis added). This does not mean staff can harass, vilify, or intimidate. But it does mean staff can speak ‘truth to power.’
These principles are consistent with the 1997 UNESCO recommendations for higher education. According to UNESCO: 31. Higher-education teaching personnel should have the right and opportunity, without discrimination of any kind … to take part in the governing bodies and to criticise the functioning of higher education institutions, including their own … and they should also have the right to elect a majority of representatives to academic bodies within the higher education institution. UNESCO goes on to add that genuinely collegial democratic decision-making processes are essential ‘“to improve academic excellence and quality for the benefit of society at large.” This should mean that university staff elect a majority of members to their respective University Councils and Academic Senates and be free to critique management without fear or favour. It should also mean staff actively participate in all aspects of decision-making to ensure our universities live up to their public obligations. Sadly, this is not the case in most Australian universities. The UNESCO recommendations make it abundantly clear that academic freedom is not just an individual right, but a collective responsibility and a social good. Universities must, therefore, preserve academic freedom against their own authoritarian and managerialist impulses lest they destroy the very cultures and values they are entrusted to preserve and enrich.
Why protecting academic freedom matters Academic freedom is the bedrock upon which a healthy university rests, and from which a vibrant educational community grows. Without academic freedom staff are defenceless, and the university lacks the critical capacity and intellectual rigour to fearlessly scrutinise itself. Only when staff feel protected can they truly exercise their academic freedom and speak up in defence of themselves and others, and the ideas they wish to advance or defend. Only then can staff speak out against university managements, other scholars, media outlets, governments, corporations, and direct supervisors. This protects democracy in the workplace and in society at large. So, while academic freedom protects staff from reprisals and sacking, it most importantly protects the very fabric and mission of the university itself. This ensures our universities operate in the public interest to deliver diverse research outcomes, engaging teaching programs, and probing social commentary.
How is academic freedom threatened? Attacks on academic freedom are happening in universities across Australia. At Flinders, for instance, management has undermined academic freedom by: 1. Reducing staff and student representation on University Council, thus disenfranchising staff and students from contributing to the chief governing body of the University and having an active say on its future direction. 2. Subjugating staff and student input to the logic of the market, whereby benchmarks, KPIs, metrics, rankings, and other neoliberal mechanisms control all aspects of staff and student performance. 3. Hollowing out consultation processes to inform rather than engage staff. Staff feedback is channelled through central filters to hide critical commentary, silence debate, and prevent reciprocal dialogue. 4. Sidelining staff input to the fringes of decision-making and to what-hasalready-been-decided rather than what-could-have-been. The inherent wisdom and creativity of staff is thereby negated. 5. Restricting research opportunities to those who attract profit or prestige, thereby stifling non-profitable, unconventional, or non-prestigious research. Knowledge itself was once the primary currency of the University, not its popularity or profitability. 6. Not renewing contracts for casual staff who critique the poor pay and conditions they receive. 7. Perpetuating change and uncertainty to keep staff silent and fearful. Endless restructures and change proposals mean staff are thrown into permanent insecurity, thus dividing them as they struggle to hold jobs or secure new ones. 8. Promoting authoritarian leadership and punitive cultures. This installs managers and supervisors who rule rather than lead, and who dictate rather than negotiate. 9. Punishing and silencing staff who question departmental decisions or seek genuine collegial decision-making. Such staff are then singled out and penalised through invidious performance reviews, punishing workloads, lost opportunities, or formal grievance charges, whereby they face allegations of misconduct for daring to exercise their academic freedom. This sends a clear message to all staff to shut up or get out. And finally,
10. Thwarting public displays of unity and dissent, such as peaceful protests or industrial action. Through fear, staff believe it is safer to not participate and not be seen. Sadly, this is happening in a twenty-first century university which prides itself on researching and exposing the very forms of violence and oppression it commits. This is where the gulf between management and staff appears most blatant and absurd. The very mechanisms of management and managerialism are thus counter to everything the university supposedly stands for. This damages the very credibility of the university and the knowledge it produces.
The consequences of fear Many university staff no longer feel safe standing up for themselves or others when facing persecution or exclusion. This creates a climate of silence and complicity, which further emboldens management aggression. As Desmond Tutu famously noted in 1984: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” So, when universities defend their authoritarian managers, as they almost always do, they side with oppression – thus further punishing staff. Likewise, when staff remain silent while colleagues are harmed, as they almost always do, they side with oppression – thus further harming their colleagues. Divided against themselves, staff thus weaken their own power and their collective access to justice and reform. It’s a vicious cycle that permits injustices to flourish unchecked and unchallenged. Both the powerful and powered-over enable the oppression to continue. Silence and complicity are anathema to a healthy and just university system.
Defending university democracy Academic freedom is the only antidote we have to these corrosive corporate practices. Speaking ‘truth to power’ is the only way staff can expose the corporate oppression and managerialist brutalities poisoning our universities. We must defend the democratic principles of our universities before it is too late. See a YouTube video of this article: youtube.com/watch?v=b4bVdr36J4I
References UNESCO. (11 November 1997). Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel. Retrieved from http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=13144&URL_ DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html Brown, R.M. (1984). Unexpected News: Reading the Bible with Third World Eyes. Westminster Press: Philadelphia.
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 25 no. 1 • March 2018 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 33
Unions = equality
Photo: Queensland Council of Unions at Brisbane Pride March, 2017. Credit: QCU
Union members led 8,000 participants at the Melbourne Pride March this year, recognising the mighty contribution union members made to the marriage equality campaign last year. Although a ‘survey’ was never an appropriate way to determine a human rights issue, the LGBTIQ community did what it’s always done: we got on with it, with strength, solidarity and some fun.
Dave Willis Victorian Division Organiser
Marriage equality was long recognised as union business. We work together in unions to build a fair and just society for everyone. Unions recognised that this won’t happen while lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) workers are treated differently to other workers. The marriage equality campaign was yet another hurdle in a long history of LGBTIQ campaigning in Australia and within an international human rights context. In many countries it’s still very unsafe to be LGBTIQ. For many, the marriage equality campaign was as much about developing allies, breaking myths and developing supportive communities ready to tackle these broader issues facing LGBTIQ people as it was about marriage. The announcement of a national postal survey stunned many, knowing it invited a level of scrutiny of their relationships, their values and their lives that the majority will never need to experience. Many of the arguments, slogans and NO campaign materials masked a general discomfort with LGBTIQ people. The survey process itself permitted a level of damaging hate speech, homophobia/biphobia/transphobia and bigotry veiled as ‘freedom of speech’. The swift response to the postal survey by unions, LGBTIQ community groups and campaign groups such as Australian
page 34 • NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 25 no. 1 • March 2018 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate
Marriage Equality generated a strong, and positive grass-roots community campaign to win a YES survey result. We began the field campaign with the advantage that the majority of Australians supported marriage equality, so we just needed to make sure they completed and returned the survey. To some degree the campaign focus became the WHO not the WHAT. This is why some criticism was later made of the campaign, suggesting time and resources weren’t taken to challenge views in some communities. The campaign reality, though, was that a few campaign weeks wouldn’t change long-standing beliefs about LGBTIQ people. In those precious few weeks though our time had to be spent turning out the majority of the population who already supported marriage equality. The hard work had been done in the years since the Howard Government changed the Marriage Act to exclude LGBTIQ people. Now as our allies were the majority of the Australian public, getting their surveys into the mail had to be the priority.
Mobilising Concentrating on the WHO for unions included contributing a strong turn-out in the survey as well as supporting LGBTIQ union members during the campaign. In Victoria, for example, and replicated in other states, NTEU collaborated actively with Australian Marriage Equality, the National Union of Students, Victorian Trades Hall, the ACTU and the Victorian AIDS Council to do three things, 1. Mobilise those eligible to vote to enrol. 2. Build the momentum to vote YES. 3. Getting out the vote. A common thread in each of these actions was one on one conversations to mobilise individuals to participate in the survey. Unions very much helped mobilise the critical mass who supported marriage equality, both through internal campaigning and jumping into the public campaign proudly wearing our union affiliations. Simple campaign messaging was supported with online and hard copy fact sheets
and other resources that helped individuals have conversations with their workmates, their friends and families. Social media memes and posts were developed and shared widely. (One QUTE Facebook post, for example, was viewed by over 17,000 people.) Bright and colourful campaign posters developed at Victoria Trades Hall were ‘rebadged’ by unions throughout the country and distributed widely complimenting those distributed by Australian Marriage Equality and other organisations. Soon the posters were visible in communities everywhere. (Walking down the street seeing Trades Hall posters in every second small business window brought a smile to the face – and signalled potential opportunity for future collaboration!) Unions turned out to participate in major campaign events including ‘Knock Your Block’ (door knock) and ‘Ring Your Rellos’. We mobilised at national rallies that broke attendance records. Various ‘Yes Fest’ parties took the edge off the blunt messages many heard during the campaign including abuse and vandalism. Union members phone-banked using technology developed in partnership with Get Up and Australian Marriage Equality. An automated phone system generated a connection with an anonymous phone number likely to be a marriage equality supporter. The system tracked responses which helped the campaign reflect on campaign progress. Union members contributed to a count of over seven hundred and fifty thousand phone calls. A significant outcome of this work, besides the obvious survey result, was union visibility. In Victoria the survey announcement party was hosted at Victorian Trades Hall and attended by over twelve thousand people. ‘Yes Fests’ and other events were staffed by union activists and staff. Rally speakers included the union leadership. For many this was their first experience of trade unions and they saw them actively addressing a social justice issue. The door is open for further action as we now campaign to change more bad rules – starting with the (Un)fair Work Act.
Staying positive While the YES campaign focused its energy on mobilising the critical mass of supporters NO supporters sought to make the campaign a debate, with potentially negative consequences for LGBTIQ people. Community responses to this ‘push back’ were affirming and broad. Some terrific examples included: • Sidewalk chalkings in local streets with positive messages including rainbows and affirmations. • Embracing popular culture with US rap singer Macklemore performing Same Love at the NRL Grand Final and declaring ‘Equality for all!’ as rainbow fireworks exploded behind him.
• A Melbourne couple who painted a rainbow on their side fence which was adjacent to a postbox, and Sydney homeowners who painted their whole house façade rainbow, images of both used in media throughout the world. • Crowd funding money to purchase a giant rainbow flag to be flown in Sydney’s sky by helicopter, to challenge NO campaign skywriting. Unions also generated affirming and supportive resources for their members and regularly asked members to ‘check in’ with their LGBTIQ comrades. Many of our Branches hosted ‘Morning Tea For Equality’.
Looking ahead LGBTIQ activism doesn’t stop with the confetti and wedding cake. Communities and their allies, including unions, have much work to do address violence and discrimination against LGBTIQ people. Expansion of religious exemptions that may be suggested by the Government’s Religious Freedoms Review, for example, will be resisted by LGBTIQ communities and their allies. Moving beyond marriage, the discrimination of LGBTIQ workers in faith-based organisations funded by the public purse also needs challenging. Prohibiting invasive surgery of intersex children until they can provide informed consent and enacting various legislation, policies and procedures that empower transgender and non-binary individuals must be adopted. Tackling discriminatory asylum policy that sees LGBTIQ asylum seekers ‘proving’ their queerness; and ending gay/transgender ‘panic defence’ in South Australia are other issues. Reinstating Safe Schools funding to provide school students age appropriate ways of understanding gender and sexuality and challenging homophobia and transphobia in schools is overdue. Issues related to LGBTIQ people worldwide must also gain the focus of our campaigns. The shocking abduction, torture and killing of gay men in Chechnya is just the tip of the iceberg in a world where seventy six countries still outlaw homosexuality with punishment in many of these with death. Workers and their unions have shown during the marriage equality survey campaign that collective action works. Together we can work to making our world a safe and fair place for all of us. Dave Willis, Victorian Division Organiser www.facebook.com/qutenteu www.nteu.org.au/qute If you’d like more information about joining NTEU’s Queer Unionists in Tertiary Education, please email Dave: firstname.lastname@example.org
Image, left: Victorian Division staff supporting the Yes case. Credit: Toby Cotton.
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FWC endorses long working hours and unpaid work A Fair Work Commission (FWC) Full Bench has now ruled on various applications by university managements and the NTEU to change the Awards covering academic and general staff in universities. The outcome from the NTEU point of view is very unsatisfactory and reiterates the need to change the (Un)Fair Work Act 2009, but it is also indicative of the conservative and anti-worker positions increasingly taken by the FWC in this environment of antagonism to workers and their unions.
While Awards don’t generally set the actual conditions of NTEU members as these are covered by Enterprise Agreements, Awards are still important. Firstly because they set the base-level above which bargaining occurs, and secondly because when an Enterprise Agreement is cancelled, as happened recently at Murdoch University, staff revert to the lesser Award conditions. A very brief summary of the claims made, and the results of each, is set out in Table 1. Basically the FWC decided that nothing needs to change in University Awards to protect staff from employer workload demands that impose long working hours on academic and general staff. Instead, they said that these things should be dealt with in enterprise bargaining. For general staff, NTEU sought an Award protection requiring the employer to take reasonable steps to ensure that if extra hours were being worked, the work should be paid for – in money or time-off, or the work should not be done. The Commission considered this to be an unnecessary burden on employers. For academics, the NTEU claims sought to limit employer-imposed academic workload requirements to that which can reasonably be performed within an average 38 hour week. NTEU recognised that some academics work longer hours out of personal choice, in addition to performing the work required to meet their performance expectations. With that in mind, NTEU sought to prevent an employer from requiring so much work that excessive hours were no longer a matter of choice but essential just to get the work done. The FWC rejected both the academic and general staff Award claims, saying that
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there were existing policies and enterprise bargaining provisions to protect staff from overwork, and that if anyone had a problem they could raise an individual workloads appeal. The Commission ignored the loophole in the wording of the Award itself which allows employers to exploit general staff who work many hours of unpaid overtime, using the excuse that it has not been “authorised”. And for academics, the FWC focussed on a false dichotomy between “required” and “self-directed” academic work to conclude that academic staff do not need any Award safety net in relation to working hours. This ignored our evidence that the effect of research expectations is to make much “self-directed” work also “required”. The FWC did not address the question of how enterprise bargaining can operate effectively in the absence of a safety net on working hours. Without regulation of workload, rates of pay and even accrual of leave entitlements, become largely notional. Enterprise bargaining is supposed to take place on the basis of a safety-net. In effect, the Commission has now told university staff we have to bargain even “for” our safety net, not “from” a safety net.
Unpaid casual hours Similarly, the NTEU’s proposals for very modest payments to regular casual academic staff for time spent familiarising themselves with employer policies and maintaining their discipline currency (outside the narrow work of preparing specific lectures and tutorials), met with short shrift from the Commission. On the one hand, they said, introducing such payments would impose a significant
Award case Table 1: Summary of Award Review claims and results
financial burden on university employers, and on the other, this could be dealt with through enterprise bargaining. The result of this decision is that, while full-time and part-time staff get paid for these activities as part of their salaries, in most cases casual employees will continue to do this work unpaid.
Not all bad news The decision rejected all of the substantial claims from the NTEU that would have resulted in university staff having an Award right to be paid for the hours actually worked, and to achieve reductions in excessive workload pressures. However a few smaller items were won – and some rather outrageous claims by the employers were also rejected. See the table for more detail.
The rules are broken It would be easy to rail against the particular members of the Fair Work Commission involved in this decision as being biased against fairness and common sense, or as knowing more about industrial law than industrial relations, or even to decry the impact that years of partisan appointments to the Commission have had on the level of sympathy to, or understanding of, real working conditions. But the reality is that FWC members have been constrained by the terms of the Fair Work Act 2009, that relegate Awards to a fictional realm in which employers are all benign and enterprise bargaining mends all ills. It is indeed time to Change the Rules! Linda Gale, Senior Industrial Officer & Ken McAlpine, National Education and Training Officer Read the full judgement: www.fwc.gov.au/awards-agreements/ awards/modern-award-reviews/4yearly-review/decisions-statements
1. Minor drafting corrections
Most of these were not opposed by the employers.
2. New ICT allowance for staff required to use their own computers, phones, etc, when working away from their office.
FWC found that universities already provide ICT resources to staff, and do not generally require them to work at home. Failed even to address the NTEU’s argument pointing out the common need to work at other locations.
3. New payments for casual staff for time spent reading university policies and maintaining discipline currency.
FWC said that requiring universities to pay for it would impose a cost burden on the employers. Apparently it is better that this cost be borne by low-paid employees.
4. Requiring universities to Not granted maintain bona fide academic promotions systems as the basis for not allowing academics to apply for “reclassification” in the way general staff can.
This means that, for those employees excluded from promotion policies, there is no effective minimum award rate of pay. The decision undermines the integrity of promotion procedures by giving employers the freedom to trash or degrade academic promotion.
5. Limiting academic workloads in Not granted order to limit required academic working hours.
FWC accepted that many academics work long hours without any additional compensation, but put regulation in the too-hard basket. Said it can all be managed through employer policies and enterprise bargaining, and rather quaintly suggested that employees could deal with problems through grievance procedures.
6. Expecting employers to take active steps to eliminate the working of unpaid overtime by general staff.
FWC did not acknowledge the cultural, systemic and workload pressures that result in the working of additional unpaid hours, and said the solution was simply to “enforce” existing overtime provisions, despite them being largely unenforceable.
7. Reintroducing express reference to the PhD point in the academic casual rates clause
This ensures academic with PhDs cannot be paid below Level A Step 6.
8. Reintroducing definitions of “lecture”, “tutorial” etc into the casual academic rates clause
FWC not satisfied there is any problem in practice with the operation of these rates of pay.
9. Clause linking general staff rates of pay to the classification descriptors
Reinserted clause from previous award.
1. Allowing fixed term contracts Not granted to be used whenever work activity was being introduced or discontinued.
Employers’ own witness acknowledged this would describe almost every organisational unit almost all the time.
2. Remove requirement for Not granted severance payment on the non-renewal of some fixed term contracts.
The existing provision is not inconsistent with the NES.
3. Reduce notice period for academic redundancy from a max of 12 months down to 6 months.
Held that higher notice periods depending on age were discriminatory.
4. Remove additional notice provision in the case of involuntary redundancy.
Provisional decision to remove this.
Opportunity for further submissions on this point.
5. Trying to restrict the right to take leave to non-teaching weeks.
Not convinced they should vary the standard provisions for this industry
6. Opposing flow-on of test case on Time Off in Lieu
Significant improvements in the TOIL provisions were included, but the employers were successful in quarantining HEW7 and above from the requirement to calculate TOIL at the relevant overtime rate.
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Finding a way ‘Through the Labyrinth’
Photo: Members of the NTEU Women’s Action Committee at the Workers March in Melbourne, 9 March 2017
Women, unions, education & leadership Leadership was the theme of the 3rd women’s conference of Education International (EI) held in Marrakesh in January this year. EI President Susan Hopgood explained the conference title, “Through the Labyrinth” in her opening address. Any scan of the data confirms that while there are improvements in some parts the world, women are still under-represented in political, business and even trade union leadership. Without radical interventions, at the current rates it would still take at least a century to achieve gender parity. There is some evidence that quotas help, and targets can also assist.
Jeannie Rea NTEU National President
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The teaching profession is now largely feminised throughout the world, and yet in some regions few women are in formal leadership positions. (The academic profession is also rapidly feminising, alongside increasing precarious employment and loss of status.) Hopgood spoke to the focus on breaking through the ‘glass ceiling’ and argued that while this metaphor made sense in the 1980s when the world of work looked quite different and more linear, so women could see the way to promotion and leadership. She argued that these days the paths to leadership are more opaque and the barriers often hard to pinpoint. Whereas we once concentrated upon ensuring there was a pipeline of qualified women, this was not enough. Therefore, Hopgood concluded we have to negotiate a labyrinth, and task of the conference was to unravel this. There were around 500 delegates from across EI affiliates with a good representation from African and Middle Eastern education unions, because of the location. For this third women’s conference, the practical focus was upon facilitating participation by delegates, rather than just listening to speeches. Alongside the plenary panels there were many opportunities for honing skills and sharing experiences. In looking to the barriers for women both in their education workplaces and in their unions,
very practical issues have to be the focus before getting into more sophisticated investigations of how sexist attitudes and behaviours work against women’s career and leadership advancement. For many participants, paid workforce and union participation requires safe passage to and from work; meetings held at times women with caring responsibilities can come; childcare; and even help in getting the support of male partners to participate.
Higher education and research The conference saw a greater representation of delegates from higher education and research unions, as well as academic delegates from broader education unions that include higher education in their coverage. The focus in the higher and further education session, led by the NTEU, was upon the barriers to women exercising leadership in contemporary universities and colleges, both formally and informally. The need for transformational leadership committed to progressive change, was favoured over the more acceptable transactional forms of leadership. Some women suggested that many women do not want to be part of management in the neo-liberal university. Others argued that women need to be involved and seek allies to make waves, citing examples of where women in leadership have done what men had failed to do, including, for example, prosecuting sexual assault cases and also introducing affirmative action measures in appointment and promotions. Several participants spoke to increasing difficulties of speaking up as feminists and unionists in the neoliberal university, where there may be a discourse of equality and equity, but one which reinforces privilege of one group over another. It was agreed that it is important to view these developments through an intersectional lens – as was pursued at the 2017 NTEU national Women’s Conference. Moroccan academic Professor Lhioui, from Moulay Ismail University and union member, encouraged women in positions of power to share their experiences with other women and mentor younger generations. “Power also means that you must be available, be in touch with other women, work collaboratively and be able to make urgent decisions in a thoughtful manner”, she said. Participants were able to provide some excellent examples of where organising, usually through unions and often in collaboration with women’s organisations, have exposed sexist behaviour , structures and practices, and have made change. However, the takeaway message from the session was the need for vigilance and persistence to ensure change continues. It was agreed that being well prepared, gathering data, monitoring developments and being ready to take advantage of an opportunity to speak out was critical.
There was a lot of interest in the Australian prevalence survey on sexual harassment and assault of students, as sexual harassment of students and staff is a problem across campuses across the world and is stopping women pursuing studies and careers.
#MeToo The #MeToo social media campaign calling out sexual misconduct, was certainly a current running through the conference. The conference was reminded by the American unions that #MeToo was initiated in 2006 by African-American women’s rights activist Tarana Burke, as a way for women to speak publicly about their experiences of sexual violence and other types of gender-based violence. The campaign went viral in October 2017, when Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano encouraged women to use it in order to demonstrate how widely prevalent women’s experiences of sexual assault and harassment are all over the world. This was in light of the revelations of sexual abuse, harassment and rape perpetrated by powerful men in the entertainment industry in the US. As Hollywood actresses began to level accusations against actors, film directors and producers, women working in other industries also began to speak publicly about their own experiences of sexual abuse and misconduct in the workplace. In a matter of weeks, #MeToo became a viral global campaign as women across the world began to speak up and break their silence about sexual violence in the workplace. The final day of the conference opened with a panel discussion on #MeToo, with panellists, from EI member organisations in Belize, Botswana, Bulgaria, the Philippines and Sweden, who spoke about how the #MeToo campaign had an impact in their countries. Whilst dominantly a discourse and campaign of the global north, women from other countries have picked up and used the opportunities this groundswell has facilitated. (See also article on Chinese students on p.42). It cannot be denied that the access to social media, outside of mass media and government control, has enabled women to speak to one another and across cultural and national boundaries. In Morocco, where like many places sexual harassment is a constant in public places, the in real life response is for women to raise their hand and proclaim baraka, meaning “enough”. Local women reported that this is having a positive impact.
raped and every thirty seconds a woman is assaulted. In Botswana, there is still a culture of shame stopping women speaking up on sexual violence. While sexual harassment in the public service has been banned for ten years, few people come forward as they fear rejection and victimisation. There is little confidence that important perpetrators will be prosecuted. The culture of violence is strong in The Philippines where the armed forces, vigilantes and others have terrorised people for decades and rape has been used as a tool of war against women and children. Yet The Philippines is lauded as the most gender equitable country in ASEAN. Other women spoke from the floor on what was happening in their countries. In Argentina woman are being killed. The speaker suggested that #MeToo had not really had an impact as women were already organising and using social media using “#we don’t want to lose more women” after a particularly awful murder sparked public attention. On 20 October 2016 women stopped work for an hour – in and outside the home – and dressed in black, and built towards a further strike in 2017. The trade unions joined the campaign at this stage. In Sweden, the education union quickly responded to #MeToo, prompted by revelations of a popular woman television show host which garnered 11,000 #MeToo posts on the first day and it kept rising. As reports came in across all areas of work including education, the Union decided they must also be accountable and created their own social media page offering advice and support. Many hashtags sprung up including one supported by 8000 upper secondary students, #RaiseYourHands. Education unions and student organisations have come together to demand an education system free of sexual harassment. #MeToo has its critics, but it was interesting to observe that it is a catalyst. This was first time that gendered and sexual violence was the subject of plenary discussion at an EI conference. There had been a silence about sexual violence. The conference’s deliberations will add to the agenda and priorities of EI, and participants left with renewed enthusiasm and determination to fight gender based discrimination and prejudice in their own workplaces and unions. Education International https://ei-ie.org
In Bulgaria and other parts of eastern Europe #MeToo has not really been picked up, but there are already popular campaigns mobilising women online and into the streets about violence against women. In Bulgaria, very four hours a woman is
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Breaking the culture of overwork While excessive working hours is an acute characteristic of academic employment in Australia, it is one hardly unique to this part of the world – nor to academic work. Commentary on the practices that lead to academic burnout have a growing home on the internet with the phrase academic “overwork” bandied about for years. However, it has surged in early 2018. Veronica Douglas in “Humblebrags, guilt, and professional insecurities” writes of the lengths that many academics go to demonstrate their over-commitment to their profession, captured in daily routines of valourising appalling hours of work and essentially competing with colleagues on the lengths they take. In the Chronicle of Higher Education, Katerina Bodovski reveals intimate details about the academic workload she assumed leading up to her collapse, and about the steep physical and psychological costs of the modern university system. Crystal Abidin provides a shortlist of strategies to combat overwork, through a piece called “Academia and the refusal of overwork culture”, which directs attention away from the experience of overwork and back upon the institutional expectations and practices that demand this mindset in the first place. The fact that academics, and in particular junior academics, are increasingly taking to online forums to describe the psychological conditions that press upon their employment is hardly surprising, considering the systemic devaluation of academic labour and the prevalence of excessive academic workloads. In Australia, the 2017 NTEU State of the Uni survey found almost one in four Australian academics responding to the survey are working more than 60 hours a week, and
only 35% of academic respondents said that their workload was manageable.
and anonymity, students’ comments have deteriorated rapidly.
Whilst academics are going online providing testimonials of their overwork, they are generally not attributing the increasing pressure to overperform to the ubiquitous culture of audit, or the increasingly precarious employment environment. Rather the testimonials attract sympathy or in effect, as Douglas points out, competitive stories of even more extreme overwork.
But the scoring of teaching performance makes little sense anyway. Apart from post-secondary teacher education students, which students have the knowledge and skills to assess teaching performance beyond the very general? Subject scoring can be just as ignorant. Whether the subject was successfully learned surely is best measured through successful completion of assessment tasks. There has to be respect for academics knowing what they are doing in writing a subject’s content and assessing it and seeking feedback from their peers on their performance.
In a highly competitive and exhausting environment, self-reflection becomes more difficult, and overwork chroniclers tend to focus on their strategies to individually manage at best. Much of the online discourse is only tangentially tied to conditions of employment. These conditions are most perniciously the implications of more and more precarious employment, but are also institutional cultures that subject academics to constant criticism and judgement. An example is the increasing misuse of online student feedback instruments employed by most universities. Ostensibly developed to inform academics about how they might improve the quality of their subjects and their teaching, these teaching evaluation tools have become a hotbed of nasty and often even racist and sexist diatribes by students towards their lecturers and tutors. Exposed to the unfettered online world of social media
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Australian academics are starting 2018 facing the responses by university management to the MYEFO funding cuts where the kneejerk reaction is to cut classes, shorten class times, increase class sizes, and put more and more online. When academics complain online that they are overworked in this environment, this is not a reaction to a perceived culture of overworking. The crass reality is that they are being overworked. Responding collectively, rather than hunkering down and individually trying to cope is the only way to change the mentally and physically dangerous spiral many academics are finding themselves continued opposite...
HELP in need of help Even though the Coalition Government has effectively abandoned its higher education ‘reform package’ (see p. 22) the aspects of this package that Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, is continuing to pursue the changes to the Higher Education Loans Program (HELP) proposed in the last Federal Budget. Focused upon the rapidly escalating level of outstanding HELP debt (which is forecast to increase from $44.7billion in 2016-17 to $76.1 billion by 2020-21), the Minister is proposing legislative change to HELP that would: • Reduce the income threshold from the current level of about $56,000 per annum to $45,000, and
scheme, and women are disproportionately affected. The underlying problem being addressed is the blow-out in the level of HELP debt. The rapid increase in HELP debt however is not being driven by an increase in the number of debtors failing to make repayments, but rather by very large increases in the number of students accessing HELP as a direct consequence of the Demand Driven System (DDS) for Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs), and the introduction of the much rorted VET FEE HELP scheme. Another important reason for the blow out in HELP debt is the massive increases in student contribution amounts (tuition fees) for CSP students. These fees have increased from $1,800 for all students in 1989, when first introduced, to between $6,444 and $10,754 in 2018 depending on the course in which you are enrolled. The real (allowing for inflation) average student contribution amount has more than doubled over this period. As a consequence average HELP debts are rising significantly.
• Amend the schedule of repayments by introducing new lower rates from 1% and 2% for incomes below $55,000 and new higher rates of 8.5% to 10% for incomes in excess of $113,000.
The best way to address escalating HELP debt is not to make students pay more and repay their debts more rapidly, but to reduce the amount of debt students acquire in the first place. Indeed if contributions were zero as is NTEU policy, the vast bulk of outstanding HELP debt would be eliminated in a decade or so.
NTEU opposes these proposals on a number of grounds, including that they do not address the underlying problem, they are counter to the original intent of the HECS
The proposed reduction in the income threshold to $45,000 is also highly problematic. In the words of its primary architect, Professor Bruce Chapman, HECS (as
Breaking the culture of overwork cont... ...continued from previous page captured within. Overwork is a health and safety issue, and it is an industrial issue. Much of what managements are up to, if not technically breaking the Enterprise Agreement, is certainly outside the spirit. So working together and responding by talking online about what we can do, getting together socially and industrially, and calling upon your local NTEU Branch to share what is happening, and deciding
what to do about it, is what will make change. Competitive overwork has always been a feature of academic competitiveness, but these days in the climate we are working in, it is frankly dangerous. Jeannie Rea, National President & Jen T Kwok, Policy & Research Officer
Image credit: Maxime Pradel/123rf
it was then) was designed so “people who didn’t get income benefits from going to university, wouldn’t have to pay.”1 Reducing the income threshold to $45,000 means that many people who are not deriving an income benefit from their degrees would be required to start making repayments, which is clearly contrary to the original intent of this income contingent loans scheme. The proposed changes are also not supported because our analysis shows that this will disproportionately affect women. This is because women earn on average considerably less than men and there are considerably more women in low to middle income ranges with HELP debts. NTEU is also urging the Government to forgive and write off all outstanding debts associated with the Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS) which ceased in 2004. This was a particularly nasty scheme which encouraged the most disadvantaged students to trade-in their income support entitlements to double the amount in the form of a loan. Paul Kniest, Policy & Research Coordinator A more detailed analysis of NTEU’s analysis of the proposed changes can be found in our submission: www.nteu.org.au/policy/legislation_ submissions/nteu_submissions 1. Professor Bruce Chapman (6 August 2014). “HECS explained: All of your questions answered by one of the scheme’s founders”. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://hijacked.com.au/hecs-explained-all-ofyour-questions-answered-by-one-of-the-schemesfounders
References Douglas, V. (2018). Humblebrags, Guilt, and Professional Insecurities [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://veronicaarellanodouglas. com/2018/02/14/humblebrags-guilt-and-professional-insecurities/ Bodovski, K. (2018). Why I Collapsed on the Job [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www. chronicle.com/article/Why-I-Collapsed-on-theJob/242537/ wishcrys (2018). Academia and the refusal of overwork culture [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://wishcrys.com/2018/02/18/academia-and-the-refusal-of-overwork-culture/
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Speaking out on sexual harassment Despite the efforts of government censors, Chinese students are speaking out on sexual harassment on campus. Decades of protest by Australian students calling upon university managements to make campuses safe from sexual harassment and sexual assault eventually led to the Australian Human Rights Commission to conduct last year’s prevalence survey. The results were predictably dreadful, but the massive publicity about the survey and the results has forced universities to commit to action on prevention and on dealing with perpetrators. The hope is that the culture of management silence about sexual violence in Australian universities towards students has been broken. Chinese university students, too, are bravely speaking out and campaigning on sexual harassment, but there are further complications than those faced by Australian students. Yovanna Sharma recently wrote in University World News about the dilemma facing Chinese authorities grappling with wanting to be seen to act decisively while trying to quell the rise in online letters and petitions, since they regard with suspicion feminist activists who they see as challenging the state. But in a move that was unusually swift for a government department, China’s education ministry last month responded to sexual harassment allegations at Beihang University, Beijing, where a ministry spokesperson said the ministry will continue its “zero-tolerance policy” towards sexual harassment on campuses and will deal with “any and all of sexual harassment cases reported in other universities and colleges”.
The ministry has said in statements in official media that it would “absolutely not tolerate” actions by instructors “that violate the bottom line of ethics and violate students”, and that the ministry “will study how to establish a protection mechanism with relevant campus departments”. An investigation was launched at Beihang, a major public research university, after a former student Luo Jixi publicly accused Chen Xuanwu, her former doctoral supervisor, of sexually harassing her 13 years ago. Luo’s online accusation posted on her Weibo social media account on 1 January went viral within China. Luo, who now lives in the United States, said she was inspired by the #MeToo social media movement that started in October in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations in the US entertainment industry. She encouraged others to come forward and share their own experiences under the #woyeshi hashtag – wo ye shi is the Chinese translation of ‘me too’. Five others then came forward with similar allegations against Chen. Luo contacted them and other alumni to provide evidence, including audio recording, to the university’s disciplinary body. On 11 January, the University announced on its Weibo account that Chen had been suspended from his post as executive vice-president of the university’s Graduate School and his teaching certificate cancelled. The University said the education ministry had authorised them to relieve Chen of his post. The ministry revoked Chen’s title and research funding. The Chen case is just the tip of the iceberg of sexual harassment on Chinese campuses, activists say, and already three more cases had been brought to public attention, all involving female college students who claimed to have been sexually assaulted or harassed by lecturers.
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Despite this, #woyeshi posts are being censored in China by the State which sees any kind of activism, including on women’s issues, as a threat to the authority of the state. Students have resorted not just to individual social media posts but multiple-signature open letters, in a bid to be heard. The letters calling on their universities to respond to sexual harassment issues were signed by students at some 60 universities across the country after activists, including Zheng Churan of the Feminist Five. (The Feminist Five were jailed in 2015 for planning to demonstrate against sexual harassment on public transport. They were released a month later after an international outcry.) In 2014 the All-China Women’s Federation surveyed 1,200 female students at 15 universities. Some 50% of respondents said they had been subjected to sexual misconduct, either physical or verbal, while 23% described the situation as “severe”. In a 2016 survey of 6,592 students and recent graduates conducted by the Guangzhou Gender and Sexuality Education Centre together with law firm Beijing Impact, which was published in an April 2017 report, 70% said they had been sexually harassed, but only 4% reported it to the university or to the police. Over 40% of them experienced sexual harassment in public areas on campus. An open letter has been deleted from social media several times by censors. But the activists say it will be hard for Chinese universities to completely silence all the women coming out. Jeannie Rea, National President Source: Yojana Sharma, University World News, Issue No:489 (Jan 2018). www.universityworldnews.com
Image: wo ye shi (me too) in Chinese script.
Free uni education for poor families In Japan, one of the few countries with higher fees and less government investment in higher education than Australia, the Government has announced a US$7.2billion package which will enable students from certain lowincome households to be eligible for free education at national universities and reduced tuition costs at private universities, two-year colleges and vocational schools from 2020. As reported in the last edition of Advocate (vol. 24, no. 1), the tide is turning on the cornerstone of neo-liberal higher education policies: tuition fees. Across the ditch in New Zealand, the new Labour Government has introduced free tertiary education for first time tertiary students from 1 January 2018. In The Philippines, tertiary education is also fee free from the start of 2018. The Japanese grants, or scholarships as they are called, are intended to reduce the problem of low-income students defaulting on loan repayments. Loans are currently the main way for cash-strapped
families to finance college education. Currently 350,000 students, or 10 times the number compared to 2004, have fallen behind on their loan repayments, of which half are more than three months behind. The Japanese Government unveiled the new package providing scholarships from 2020 for students from families who cannot afford to pay their residential taxes soon after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s election victory in August. During the election campaign he promised a new economic package to subsidise education costs from pre-school to university, improve elderly care and raise productivity by 10% by fiscal 2020 compared to 2016. According to the OECD education costs in Japan average 30% of household expenditure compared to 16% worldwide. The Government’s scholarship plan is “linked to increasing Japan’s economic production, now stalled by student debt and the rising number of youth who are shelving starting families, contributing to a serious demographic decline”, says Yuki Honda, a professor at the Graduate School of Education, University of Tokyo, and a supporter of the student-led Aequitas campaign against low wages, which began in September 2015. But Honda believes the scholarship plan will not achieve its intended purpose of equal opportunity as the program is selective, aimed at particular universities only and restricted to students who have goals to get good jobs and start new ventures, among stipulated conditions now being debated. It sets conditions that cannot be necessarily be met by the target group of disadvantaged students. Because of the cost, young people from lower-income
families are less likely to receive higher education and will make less money than employed graduates over the course of their lifetimes. But others are hailing the package as a landmark. Kan Suzuki, a former vice minister in the ministry of education and now a professor in the public policy department, Keio University, said, “The new scholarship will encourage more students to study in regional universities and will stimulate funds flowing to the local economy and lead to quality human resources entering local industries,” he says. The education ministry’s stated objective is to free the students of debt and support them to start new ventures or use their university education to get jobs in a rapidly changing employment environment. The ministry’s website describes the program as being important for achieving innovation in higher education and boosting the country’s international competitiveness, as well as supporting fair opportunities and higher research quality. In 2004, all national universities were reformed as legal corporations with discretionary rights over their affairs such as budgets. But the Government started to decrease subsidies to national universities by 1% each year at the same time and has started increasing grants or contracts to universities that can attain government goals which is leading to financial difficulties for many universities. Jeannie Rea, National President Source: Suvendrini Kakuchi, University World News, Issue No:489 (Jan 2018). www.universityworldnews.com
Image: School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo. Source: www.sih.m.u-tokyo.ac.jp
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News from the Net Pat Wright
Gig economy workers Businesses on the internet accessible through smartphone apps are driving the evolution of the economy – with profound influences on employment. Uber, AirBnB, Deliveroo, Foodora and Uber Eats have revolutionised the way we buy services, and the worklife of those people who provide those services. Economists argue that services such as ride-sharing, accommodation-sharing and food delivery can harvest economies of scale to provide services at a reduced price to the consumer – but at what cost to the “Delivery Partners”, and to the notions of decent work and a living wage? Millennials are attracted to such gig-to-gig work because of its freedom from supervision, lack of specified hours, limited responsibility, and individual independence, but they may be selling themselves short in the medium to longer term, because they get few of the benefits of conventional employment, such as an hourly rate for being on duty, holiday pay and other forms of leave, superannuation, long-service leave, health and safety regulation, workers compensation, etc. Meanwhile, they are vulnerable to exploitation, as the fee they are paid for delivery might well be driven down by competition from other “Delivery Partners”. Being promoted from “the unemployed” to “the working poor” is not much of an advancement. To be fair, jobs website Indeed recently surveyed a small number of Deliveroo riders and reported that their average income is $1,342 per week, which is actually above the national average total weekly earnings ($1,180) for all workers. However, we do not know how many hours per week they worked, and therefore do not know their hourly rate, nor their ability to sustain those hours over the long term.
As the gig economy workforce grows, more and more workers are having to take legal action to redress some injustice they have suffered, and the response they have had in different jurisdictions around the world has been various. The most common dispute hinges on whether they are “employees” or “contractors” under the law. In the US, where the gig economy is most advanced, a growing number of court cases are finding gig workers eligible for health, retirement and workers compensation benefits, if not mis-classified as contractors when they should have been classified as employees. A key factor in these cases has been how much control the online business and the gig worker has respectively over the task.
Millennials are attracted to such gig-to-gig work because of its freedom... but they may be selling themselves short in the medium to longer term, because they get few of the benefits of conventional employment...
Uber et al. say that they are merely facilitating intermediaries and that the contract for service is between the delivery partner and the customer, so they have less control over the task than the delivery partner. However, many gig workers, particularly if they have their access to the online business deleted, have been too sick to work, or seek unemployment benefits, have been granted access unfair dismissal, health insurance, or unemployment insurance as though they were employees. A recent exception to this trend was the case of Lawson v Grubhub in the California District Court, which found that Grubhub did not control how or when Lawson made deliveries, the vehicle in which he made them, his appearance, when he was available to work, or for how long he worked. Furthermore, Grubhub did not require him to undergo any training, nor did it provide him with any orientation, and did not evaluate his performance in any way. To cap it off, the court found Lawson guilty of “gaming” the online system to get paid
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for work he did not do. Consequently, he was not found to be an “employee”. However, Grubhub and their ilk should not crack open the champagne too soon, given the circumstances of the case. Meanwhile, the decision has provided gig workers with a list of relevant indicators which might be used in future to establish status as an employee, and subsequently entitled to employment benefits, particularly health benefits. Understandably, pragmatic progressives in the US emphasise getting employment benefits for gig workers over re-defining their legal status as employees, and several States are proposing different mechanisms to provide portable benefits for gig workers. The states of Washington, New York and New Jersey all have portable benefits proposals in their legislatures, and California is exploring this approach. In Washington State, the proposal for employer contributions to a state-run portable benefits fund has recently been boosted by a joint call by Uber and the Services Employees International Union (SEIU) for Washington State to develop a portable benefits system for gig economy workers. At the Federal level, a Democrat senator has moved an Act to provide $20m to assist states, localities, and non-profit organisations to experiment with portable benefits models for gig economy workers. In National Affairs (No. 34, Winter 2018), “How to Modernise Labor Law” includes a proposal to allow unions to administer worker benefits plans for members and non-members alike in order to reap economies of scale. The Federal Department of Labor recently announced changes to clear the path to small businesses and solo entrepreneurs to link together to create Association Health Plans (APHs) for gig economy workers. This appears also to give gig workers the ability to join together to create their own APHs. In the UK, Matthew Taylor was commissioned to conduct an independent Review of Modern Working Practices, published in July 2017. Seven months later, Theresa May’s Government issued a response, Good Work, which agreed with 52 of its 53 recommendations, “subject to further consultations”. A key focus of the Taylor Review, and the Government Response, was, of course, the gig economy. Unfortunately, neither of these publications proposed any change to the current three-tier approach to employment status: employee, continued on p. 49...
Lowering the Boom Ian Lowe
Ignoring the warnings to humanity I had an eerie sense of déjà vu watching Professor Emma Thompson speaking to the National Press Club as President of Science and Technology Australia. She was calling for a recognition of the importance of science and technology to Australia’s future, appealing to politicians to move beyond their short-term thinking and put research funding on a proper long-term basis. It was impressively articulate, but the content was depressingly similar to that of a Press Club address I had given a few decades ago. Has nothing changed? In some ways, there is greater recognition of the importance of research in general and science in particular. Last year, my former colleague Professor Alan Mackay-Sim was Australian of the Year, recognised for his pioneering stem cell research. Professor Michele Simmons took over the mantle, honoured for her work in the demanding field of quantum computing. I don’t think there have ever before been two science professors as consecutive Australians of the Year. Further to that, Professor Graeme Farquhar, a biophysicist, is 2018 Senior Australian of the Year and school maths teacher Eddie Wu was anointed as the Local Hero, celebrating his Wu-tube videos that make maths instruction more accessible. The community understands the importance of investing in new knowledge. A survey conducted by Science and Technology Australia found that 94 per cent believe science and technology is important to our future well-being, while
80 per cent think we should increase our research spending. Instead, we are going backwards. National expenditure on R&D is now 1.8 per cent of GDP, compared with 2.25 per cent a few years ago, and the figure is shrinking every year. Prof. Thompson noted that China is now producing five times as many science graduates as it was twenty years ago. We are producing fewer. There is a drastic shortage of qualified maths and science teachers. This shortage probably contributes to the declining fraction of year 12 students doing maths, physics and chemistry. Prof. Thompson placed the blame squarely with the national government. In the last four years, she said, there have been five science ministers – and a period where there was no minister at all responsible for science. This is just a symptom of the short-term thinking which has become endemic in politics. Research desperately needs long-term planning and investment, because new knowledge is built on “years of dedicated research”. Thompson reminded her audience of the paradox that “overnight success“ is usually decades in the making, lamenting the failure of several successive governments to develop a coordinated investment plan. She described research support as “intellectual insurance”, protecting our social and economic futures. The cuts to university funding, she added, have created a perverse incentive to reduce student places in fields that are more costly, like science and engineering, to allow expansion in the numbers doing courses that are less expensive to provide, such as law and commerce. So we won’t be developing the innovations that will be the basis of new industries, but we would be better equipped to take legal action to protect those innovations if we had them. That is a great approach. In the media frenzy around the complex personal life and domestic arrangements of the member for the seat of New England, there was almost no attention to a shocking report that many of Australia’s largest companies had paid no tax for years. The Government effectively encourages this behaviour. As tax-payers, we all subsidise corporations to employ lawyers and accountants to advise them on complex schemes to avoid paying their share of tax. The dwindling tax revenue forces governments to find ways to reduce their
spending. We have one of the smallest public sectors in the entire affluent world, but there are still dark forces urging the Government to reduce company tax and offer personal tax relief to those income brackets likely to be Coalition voters. Also unremarked in the silly season was a statement by more than 15,000 of the world’s leading scientists that the current path of human development is not sustainable. This extraordinary paper had more signatories than any scientific publication in history, so it should have attracted the attention of decision-makers and media organisations. The researchers revisited a famous 1992 document, World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity, which said that the approach being followed at the time was risking serious environmental problems. Looking back on the twenty-five years since that warning, the new report said almost all of the trends have worsened. The sole exception was a dramatic reduction in the rate of releasing ozone-depleting substances. Since 1992 the human population has increased by about two billion, the world has lost 100 million hectares of forest, the fish catch has declined by about 20 per cent, there is about 25 per cent less fresh water per person, releases of greenhouse gases have nearly doubled and species abundance has fallen from 60 per cent of the 1970 level to 40 per cent. The report concluded, “To prevent widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss, humanity must practise a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual... Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out.” We need to invest in research and innovation, but it is equally urgent to recognise the scale of the problems we face. Simplistic slogans like “jobs and growth” are totally inadequate. Will we ever have adults in charge? Ian Lowe is Emeritus Professor of Science, Technology and Society at Griffith University. M@AusConservation
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The Thesis Whisperer Inger Mewburn
Time, for a change Ah, workload planning season. Love it or hate it, we all must do it. If you are the rabble-rousing union-y picket-line-inhabiting type (if you’re not, why are you even reading this?), this season can be full of uncomfortable conversations. For instance, the Government has cut funds to the sector once again, but the show must go on. Classes must be run, students must be educated and managers must fulfil their key performance indicators. All around the country academics are scratching their heads trying to think of how to do the same-with-less trick, never mind giving push back to the demands of more-for-less. Workload planning in these conditions is difficult – especially if, like me, you are on a time limited contract. It’s important to appear to be a willing and eager part of the solution, not part of the problem, so offering up plenty of yourself is only smart. In the past, to avoid conflict or questions about my fitness for purpose, I have often just made promises and worried about the time implications of these promises later. Essentially, I have made everything future Inger’s problem and trusted her to handle it. The problem is, I’ve been treating Future Inger like a suitcase on a long holiday. I know I’ve bought too much stuff, but I make myself fit it all in. However, as we all know, if you do this to a suitcase too often, the thing just won’t close, making it effectively worthless as a suitcase.
I have been getting increasingly worried that I was going to end up being a non-functional suitcase, so in advance of this year’s workload planning I took a different approach. I decided to negotiate a job I could do in the actual hours I was paid for, in full recognition that I can’t help myself and would probably work more. The rationale for this strategy was that if I made sure the expectations during paid hours were reasonable, any extra work time could be allocated to writing projects I personally enjoy, like blogging (which has never fitted in work hours anyway), writing romance novels, rant-y union columns, and so on. I’d also like to volunteer more and continue my usual high level of fitness activities. I also have a son starting the last two years of school and it’s obvious to me, even after just one week, that I am going to have to be very emotionally present.
For the first time, I can literally see the true time cost of things like email and meetings. I can watch the hours spin past the 35 mandated by the Enterprise Agreement and start to calculate how much I donate, annually, to my employer.
rises it in the way that I decide, generating graphs and charts and even giving me a personal ‘productivity score’ based on my own parameters. For the first time, I can literally see the true time cost of things like email and meetings. I can watch the hours spin past the 35 mandated by the Enterprise Agreement and start to calculate how much I donate, annually, to my employer. The results of the diary analysis shocked me. My team and myself were working 60 hour weeks. I asked myself how that was possible given I don’t turn up until 10am most days and usually leave the office by 5pm. I regularly spend Friday mornings at the hairdresser. However, the Timing app showed me the ‘boom and bust’ nature of academic work. My hours were all over the place – 4 hours one day, 12 the next. Often the 12 hour days were punctuated by periods where I was not on task in any sense. It doesn’t feel like a 12-hour day if I go to the gym and have a long lunch and then work through to 11pm as I did last Thursday. The feeling of freedom and autonomy to set when and where I work, and, I think critically, the enjoyment I get out of my work, somehow masks many of the effects of overwork. But the effects are there – I’ve cried at work twice this year and I have only been back for 3 weeks, a classic symptom of burnout. So, I’m going to stop making everything future Inger’s problem. A human being is not a suitcase.
(I just read that last paragraph back and wonder - why am I apologising for not wanting to work unpaid overtime? I don’t know, but the guilt is real comrades.)
Wish me luck.
To achieve this somewhat radical notion of hours worked for wages earned, at the end of the year, the whole team set time aside add up the actual hours worked and categorise them. We used diary notes and phone records, which I have since supplemented with an app called ‘Timing’ for the Mac.
Timing essentially watches what I do as I work on the computer and gives me a way to easily record work that happens away from the keyboard. The app then catego-
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Dr Inger Mewburn does research on research and blogs about it.
Letter from Aotearoa/NZ Sandra Grey
What a difference a day and collective action makes In 2017 staff, students, and communities in New Zealand reacted swiftly to government plans to further privatise the tertiary education sector. In a supposedly ‘technical bill’ then Minister of Education, Paul Goldsmith, looked to equalise funding between for-profit and public providers of tertiary education. “Both public and private education providers that achieve good education outcomes for New Zealanders should receive comparable funding. Introducing a requirement that providers are funded consistently I hope will encourage innovation and better performance in the tertiary sector.”1 The TEU drew a line in the sand and argued that public funding should go to public, iwi, and community providers. This last week we’ve seen a new Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, set out a broad program of change for education – including universities, vocational education providers, and wānanga. No more ‘private’ and ‘competitive’ approaches to education: “This government will champion a high-quality inclusive public education system that provides all New Zealanders with learning opportunities so that they can discover and develop their full potential throughout their lives, engage fully in society, and lead rewarding and fulfilling lives.” 2 Much of what is set out by the current government in their work program matches our demands set out in the 2017 briefing to the incoming minister. We will get a concerted effort to ensure regional provision of education. Research metrics will be reviewed. Staff and students will be put back onto university, ITP, and wānanga councils as of right. The Union will be at the table when the Government hosts forums to develop education policy.
Now there is more work to be done, for as we know when it comes to government actions the devil is in the detail. But the door is wide open. It is open because TEU members have run public campaigns over the closure of courses in small regional communities. It is open because TEU members generated over 2,000 submissions to a parliamentary select committee on the importance of funding public education rather than funding private training establishments where shareholders pocket profits. It is open because TEU members spoke passionately about family and community members who were missing out on education because of marketisation and commercialisation.
Committed to ensuring all New Zealanders have access to life-long learning, during nine years living with a neoliberal Minister of Tertiary Education, TEU members at times have been the only voice defending quality public tertiary education provision loudly and proudly.
Now the challenge is to change entirely the ground on which tertiary education is located in New Zealand. Away from focus on profits, economic growth and labour market productivity to the truly transformative space universities, ITPs, and wananga can be. We still have some tough debates ahead. Not least of which is the need for increased public revenue to fund quality education and ensure staff working conditions enable them to be the very best they can be. New Zealanders, like many others in the English-speaking democratic nations, have been told repeatedly that tertiary education is a private gain, so should be paid for by students and their families They’ve also been sold the idea that government’s should deliver tax cuts. The impact of tax cuts and underspending on social and human services is seen in the rising inequality, growing waiting lists, horrendous youth unemployment statistics, in homelessness, and dilapidated teaching spaces in our regional tertiary education institutions. We need to turn this around. And once again TEU members must be at the forefront of these public debates if we truly aspire to embed changes that work for us, our students, and our communities. Sandra Grey is National President/Te Tumu Whakarae, New Zealand Tertiary Education Union/Te Hautū Kahurangi o Aotearoa www.teu.ac.nz
It is open because TEU members lobbied their own Vice-Chancellors and Chancellors for places at the table when a former Minister of Tertiary Education removed their seats on the university council. It is open because TEU members have a shared vision and work collectively to make that live.
M@nzteu 1. https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/tertiary-education-amendment-bill-introduced 2. http://www.education.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Ministry/Information-releases/R-Education-Portfolio-Work-Programme-Purpose-Objectives-and-Overview.pdf
Committed to ensuring all New Zealanders have access to life-long learning, during nine years living with a neoliberal Minister of Tertiary Education, TEU members at times have been the only voice defending quality public tertiary education provision loudly and proudly.
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Delegates News Website to support Delegates NTEU has developed a dedicated NTEU Delegates website, to be launched in early March 2018. The website is designed to be a ‘one stop shop’ for Delegates to access useful information and resources to assist with the important tasks of building the Union and representing members. It includes an online version of the new Delegates Handbook, the NTEU Policy Manual, links to campaigns, FAQs and information and resources for recruiting new members. Delegates play a vital role within the Union, and their contribution is much appreciated. Union strength and influence depends on more than just the size of its membership. It relies on members being active and engaged and identifying with the Union. Access to the website will be restricted to Workplace Delegates that have been endorsed by members in their workplace and by their local Branch. Contact your Branch Organiser for further information. Michael Evans, National Organiser delegates.nteu.org.au
Annette Herrera Annette Herrera is a Project Officer, Academic Services, Student Success at the University of Melbourne. She is also a current postgraduate student in International Relations at the University of Melbourne, and an NTEU Delegate. Tell us a bit about why you decided to become an NTEU delegate – e.g. what motivated you to become more active? I decided to become an active union member because of the lack of employee voice in Academic Services with executive management. The current environment in Academic Services, Student Success is demoralising for several reasons: constant re-structures (even after the large 2014/2015 restructure at The University of Melbourne), high workloads for staff, top down management decision making, and increased casualisation of work. At the same time student numbers are increasing and our executive management asks us to do more with student services with less resources. Increasing student reach is a common refrain in Academic Services. As a current postgraduate student at the university as well as a staff member, I have spoken to students who are exploited as casual academic staff and/or professional staff. Students working as casuals do not have access to full superannuation, paid sick leave, domestic violence leave or rights to convert to full time employees. The university promotes student casual work as a trade-off for students to gain work experience and enjoy flexibility while they complete their studies. However, work conditions should not be an either/ or proposition – student casual staff should have flexibility as well as great and stable work conditions. It’s clear, the university wants to decrease employee entitlements and FTE headcount especially with professional staff in
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order to allocate revenue to areas that will increase its prestige and rankings (namely research and new physical infrastructure). As women predominantly work as professional staff and in casual roles this is also a gender issue with the university. It devalues the important work women do and does not address the gender wage gap, the superannuation gap and management glass ceiling that professional staff face in universities. I love my university and want to make it a better community, so there was no way I could work here or study here and not speak out.
What is a highlight for you as an NTEU delegate? Last year, our amazing NTEU organisers and our NTEU member activists in Academic Services designed and delivered Lunch and Learn sessions on topics that fellow members felt were important for staff in our work unit. The impact was that staff continued the conversations with other staff after the lunch and learn sessions and they felt more empowered to ask for advice from the Union or from other union members. Topics included: ‘What is enterprise bargaining?’, ‘Negotiating performance reviews’, ‘What to do with high staff workloads’ and ‘Rights to time off in lieu’.
What are you involved with at the moment in your Branch? Suggestions on campaigning, poster hanging, passing on issues to take to the bargaining table that impact professional staff in Academic Services, regular meetings with members to update them on bargaining.
What do you like best about being a delegate? Seeing members and non-members become more knowledgeable about their work rights and take steps to be more active members. Sometimes it’s just planting the seed so I’m open to help members and “future” members.
Delegates News Dispelling myths about what an NTEU delegate can and can’t do. For example:yes you can meet with members at lunch time, and yes posters are totally ok to put up even in student areas!) Providing a voice of reason when management try to normalise internal policies that are contrary to legal employee entitlements.
What have you found challenging about being a delegate? The current union bashing in Australia is challenging for all delegates so remaining hopeful is sometimes not easy. However, if you are going to exert energy being stressed about work you might as well put that energy to good use and support the NTEU to organise.
What role do you think delegates can play within the NTEU? Delegates help activate other members and non-members at the work unit level of the university. Delegates speak on behalf of their work units and then can inform the Branch on what action needs to be taken.
Without volunteer delegates it is much more difficult for the Branch to advocate on behalf of staff. It’s definitely something all members should consider doing (even as a rotation) and especially during bargaining time.
Why is it important for members to be active within the NTEU? Every little bit counts. Putting up posters, hosting a Lunch and Learn session, forwarding an important union message to all staff in your building are your right to do as a staff member. Taking small actions will help you take larger ones and will grow the movement around you. Other staff notice when the whole floor is suddenly union and that is real power then to assert your rights.
Why do you believe in taking action to address issues affecting our members? Can you imagine if union members asked a tough question during a Vice Chancellor or Executive Management roadshow, or hung up posters in building hallways,
Gig economy workers cont... ...continued from p. 44 self-employed, and the rather confusing hybrid status of “worker” – a muddying of the waters to muddle through, despite the Taylor Review recommendation to consult on the benefits (or otherwise) of renaming one of the worker definitions as “dependent contractors”. However, the Government Response did at least lean towards the level of control over the actual services provided as a deciding factor in the status of the worker. If, for example, the worker is subject to set rates of pay, very detailed duties, and performance reviews or ratings, the chances are higher that s/he will turn out to be “workers” with rights. The performance rating system used by Uber was significant in a recent UK case because it effectively mirrors a performance management process, which is usually reserved for employees, not “workers” or self-employed contractors. On 21 Feb 2018, The Times thundered that the Government should clarify the fuzzy boundaries between employee, dependent contractor and self-employed, in commenting on Smith v Pimlico Plumbers in the Supreme Court, to commence hearing the next day. Smith was a plumber who drove a Pim-
lico-branded van to jobs dispatched by the Pimlico switchboard between 2005 and 2011. After suffering a heart attack in 2010, he asked to reduce his working week from five days to three, but Pimlico refused and took away his van. The lower courts have declared Smith a “worker” or “dependent contractor”, who is entitled to benefits like disability benefit and holiday pay, but Pimlico (supported by Uber) has appealed to the Supreme Court that Smith is a self-employed contractor. The truth will out soon. In Australia, there have been many contested cases hinging on whether a worker is an employee or a self-employed contractor. The latest case was Kaseris v Uber in 2017, in which a Victorian Uber driver’s account was deactivated because of poor passenger ratings. Kaseris made an unfair dismissal claim under the Fair Work Act. Uber successfully argued that he was not an employee under the terms of engagement, which lacked a wages-work bargain, ie, Uber grants the Driver a sub-licence to use the Partner App; it does not employ the Driver. The Services Agreement explicitly states that the relationship between the parties is solely that of independent contractors, drivers are required to meet general service
or demanded consultation regarding re-structures from their management? There is strength in visible numbers. Union fees and our awesome NTEU staff provide the necessary scaffold, but it is members that need to climb that ladder and put pressure on management to invest in their staff instead of a new building. Union movements are foundationally about social justice issues important to workers and society. I’m really proud of the role the NTEU took to advocate for marriage equality last year, when the UoM position was fairly subdued. The NTEU’s continued advocacy around domestic violence leave in the enterprise agreement is also important and ties into a wider movement to recognise sexual harassment and gender based violence in the world of work. For more inforamtion on becoming an NTEU Delegate, contact your local Branch office or visit: www.nteu.org.au/delegates
standards, but otherwise are able to provide a ride in any manner they deem appropriate, and they are prohibited from wearing a uniform , or any other form of clothing displaying Uber’s name, logo or colours. Deputy President Gostencnik found that some factors of the terms of engagement suggested that Kaseris was an employee, but they were outweighed by the factors suggesting that he was a self-employed contractor. Little weight seems to have been given to performance rating – ostensibly the reason for de-activating the driver’s account. Performance review, evaluation or rating has been given more weight in the US and UK cases. Some of this litigation might have some relevance for contingent, or casual, workers in the emergent gig economy in higher education. The Labor Opposition has committed to conducting an inquiry into the future of work – including the gig economy – if it is elected to government. Hopefully, it will build on its UK predecessor. A Senate Select Committee is currently examining these issues, due to report by 21 June 2018. Pat Wright is an NTEU Life Member. email@example.com
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My Union NTEU commits to revised 10 Point Plan for a postTreaty union The NTEU National Executive has endorsed a revised “10 Point Plan for a post-Treaty union”. The NTEU has a long history of taking seriously our obligations to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (A&TSI) peoples and communities to redress past and current wrongs and to forge a better future. To this end NTEU has taken a very strong stance on supporting the development of Treaties, taking guidance from our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy Committee (A&TSI PC). Within our sector, we have made numeric targets for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (A&TSI) employment a priority in collective bargaining and draft Agreements are not approved without these targets. NTEU has a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Unit with two full time staff and another dedicated staff member located in Brisbane. We have an employment strategy – as we have insisted university employers must. We have dedicated A&TSI elected positions at all levels of the Union. We put A&TSI business first on our meeting agendas. We state that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business is core union business. The NTEU is unique amongst Australian unions in the depth and breadth of our commitment to ‘walk the talk’, but this is only possible because of the levels of cooperation across the Union. But it is especially because our A&TSI members and activists, despite the frustrations, maintain goodwill as the Union seeks to succeed in making Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business core union business. From the first National Indigenous Forum held back in 2002, participating non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander activists and staff have recognised that the onus is also upon us to be active and vigilant. Back at that first forum the “Gubba” (non-Indigenous) caucus developed a “10
Point Plan for a post-Treaty union”. (It is worth noting that ‘Treaty’ was in the public discourse at that time, but was abandoned by political leaders. ‘Ten point plans’ were on the agenda because of John Howard’s so named plan to renege upon the Wik decision on native title.) Whilst the responsibility of the Gubbas, and more specifically the Union leadership, this plan though has been more consistently monitored by the A&TSI PC and Forum. The national A&TSI Forum in July 2016 called on the Union leadership to audit progress on implementation of the 10 Point Plan. The National Executive undertook to hold such an audit in collaboration with Divisions and the revised plan was endorsed at the end of 2017. In assessing progress on the original plan, it was pleasing to find that a fair proportion of the plan has been implemented and/or become part of Union business. The extent to which it has become core to the Union’s culture and politics is more debatable. For example point one sought active support by all levels of the Union to understanding the centrality of the partnership and of sovereignty, and that this is reiterated in union documents and by leadership. There is still more work to be done. The second point committed the Union to address white race privilege amongst Union officers, staff and members, that has not received ongoing attention. It was noted that cultural competency education and training had been made a responsibility of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Unit, which is insufficient. Now responsibility lies also with Union Education and implementation of the revised plan lies firstly with the nation leadership, but also at the Divisional level. The National Executive determined, in early 2017, that the Cultural Competency Education (CCE) program needed to be rolled out without further delay, with the first focus being upon training all staff in all Divisions and the National Office. It was also noted that whilst CCE is an important component in effectively implementing Union policy and the 10 Point Plan, it is not a substitute for conscious, consistent and concerted action by officers, staff and members. There still remains a practice to refer matters affecting A&TSI members to the National A&TSI Unit, when the matter can and should be addressed locally. Better understanding and education would enable staff, officers and elected representatives to assess whether and how the National A&TSI Unit should be consulted and involved. There is still a tendency
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to treat matters for A&TSI members as ‘different’ even when they are not; and at same time there is sometimes a lack of consideration of when there may be an A&TSI dimension. Other points referred to ‘a facilitation of voices’, and formal inclusion. This has been implemented in terms of designated A&TSI positions at all levels of the Union, and A&TSI matters are a distinct and funded Budget line. The use of protocols (e.g. Acknowledgment of Country) is widespread, but needs continual reinforcement. Later points focused upon the employment of staff and while there are three staff at present, the National A&TSI Employment Strategy adopted at 2014 National Council commits the Union to an employment target of 5% by 2020. Most significantly industrial rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have become a core part of the collective bargaining agenda with mandatory claims and settlement points. However, the wins in bargaining can stumble in implementation as clauses are constantly challenged by management and, at times, neglected by Branches. The final original point was about the Union’s role in fostering relationships between institutions and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This has been pursued by the Union at a number of sites over the years, focussing upon bringing the community and institutions together. It must be recognised that this is an ongoing and complex process but one the Union is committed to pursue. On the broader issue of the Union taking a role in pursuing justice and rights for A&TSI peoples, the Union has encouraged and supported participation, most recently in the sovereignty and treaties campaigns, and in active participation in promoting trade union involvement including in matters like the CDP. In summary, the major issue is with making A&TSI industrial and political rights mainstream within the NTEU. Informed by this analysis, the revised 10 Point Plan updates and makes commitments to ensure gains that have been made are not eroded, and that those areas needing more work receive attention. Jeannie Rea, National President www.nteu.org.au/atsi/10pointplan If you are interested in the audit and other documents informing the revised plan, do contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
10 Point Plan for a Post-Treaty Union REVISED 2017 The 10 Point Plan for a Post-Treaty Union was prepared by the Gubba caucus at the NTEU’s first national Indigenous Forum in 2002. Following a call from the 2016 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Forum on the union leadership to audit progress on implementation of this Plan, the National Executive did so over the past year and the revised Plan was endorsed at the National Executive meeting on 16 November 2017.
Promoting active support by all levels of the Union for: • The central importance of the partnership between the Union and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members. • The rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members to exercise their sovereignty within Union structures, and • The responsibility of non-Indigenous members to support both the partnership and the exercise of sovereign rights.
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Committing to ongoing education and training for officers, staff, elected representatives and members to address white race privilege and workplace racism. Fostering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members’ active participation in all areas of the Union’s activity, internal and external communication, policy development and advocacy work, through formal and informal structures. Supporting such participation by the Union’s respect for and use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols within the unions own practice, and in members’ workplaces Ongoing implementation of the 2014 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy and the employment target of 5% by 2020. Increasing employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in higher education by continuing to not only make numerical Indigenous employment targets a mandatory claim and settlement point in enterprise bargaining, but consistently implementing these. Recognising defence of industrial rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members is informed not just by recognition of industrial law, but also reflects the Union’s commitment to social justice. Continuing to have a specific allocation of resources through an identified budget line discussed with the A&TSI policy committee chair and national unit coordinator and the general secretary. Seeking opportunities for the Union to play a role in fostering appropriate regional agreements between institutions and sovereign Indigenous peoples, which reflect respect for Indigenous knowledge systems, use of land, and the return and restitution of artefacts, objects, and belongings of cultural significance. Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities in their political advocacy and action for social justice, rights and sovereignty, in the broader community and through the trade union movement.
Authorised by G.McCulloch, General Secretary, NTEU, 120 Clarendon St, South Melbourne VIC 3205
My Union NTEU’s silver anniversary This year marks the 25th anniversary of the amalgamation of two small academic unions and three modest professional staff unions to form the NTEU.
Even in the current enterprise bargaining environment, in the face of management hostility and retrograde federal government policy, we continue to advance. This isn’t the only unprecedented aggression off recent years. On the policy and campaigning front, the Union’s “No $100,000 degrees” campaign proved a vital component in forcing the Abbott-Turnbull Governments to drop plans to fully deregulate university fees.
In the quarter century since the Federated Australian University Staff Associations (FAUSA), the Union of Australian College Academics (UACA), the Australian Colleges and Universities Staff Association (ACUSA), the Australian National University Administrative and Allied Officers Association (ANU AACA) and the University of Adelaide General Staff Association (UAGSA) merged, there is little question that NTEU has cemented its position as the dominant voice for staff in the higher education sector.
Indeed, it is no accident that university staff in Australia still enjoy generous pay, superannuation and conditions relative to their counterparts in many comparable countries worldwide. Along similar lines, the Union has a demonstrated record of dedication to important industrial causes including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and the introduction of mandatory employment targets. The Union was also an early advocate among all unions for mandatory parental and domestic violence leave in the workplace. This, and much more, is testament to the commitment and dedication of our membership.
It is hardworking university staff who have borne the brunt of this hostile funding environment as managements adopt increasingly corporate attitudes and approaches. One terrible symptom has been the unacceptable explosion in casual and fixed-term precarious employment in our universities, creating so much uncertainty, anxiety and stress for academic and professional staff alike. Much as the Murdoch University Enterprise Agreement termination demonstrated the rules governing working people and their unions are broken and need to change, the struggles faced by precariously employed staff are proof systemic transformation is needed in our sector.
Advocate vol. 20 no. 3 • November 2013 • www.nteu.org.a u • ISSN 1329-7295
Just as they’ve done in the past, NTEU members have a vital role to play in making these changes – over the next 25 years, and beyond.
Over this time, the Union has continued to develop and display its effectiveness at the enterprise bargaining table, through its democratic member-driven structures, involvement in national and international union causes and on the policy and research fronts. Our 28,000 members can be proud of the many achievements, advancements and battles they have won.
Despite the breakthroughs, there is little question that a multitude of issues continue to beset our sector and membership. While full fee deregulation looks dead and buried, the Federal Government is implementing a two-year teaching funding freeze after failing to win support for its higher education budget cuts in the Senate.
Celebrating 20 years
1993-2013: Two decades of one indust ry,
• Dealing with an Abbott Govt. • Pyne pays homage to Vanstone • Cash cow approach to funding • Post-election wrap up • Indigenous employment targets
• Industrial actions in Vic & NSW • CAE staff fight cuts • Job security our priority • MOOCs: Don’t believe the hype • SSAF and student services
Andrew MacDonald, Media & Communictions Officer
• No more blue skies for Canada • Whole-of-University approach • National Council 2013 report • Celebrating Foundation Members • ...and much more.
Obituary: Dick Whyte
He was a particularly powerful and effective campaigner for staff in those mergers, ensuring that jobs were saved and terms and conditions retained.
NTEU notes with regret the passing of life member Richard (Dick) Whyte on 24 December 2017.
Dick was a peerless advocate for individual members in areas such as redundancy, discipline, classification levels and appeals. He would have made a formidable barrister!
Dick, who was a Lecturer in Education, was a strong union activist at Frankston Teachers’ College/SCV Frankston; thereafter (per mergers) at Chisholm Institute of Technology and Monash University.
Dick also served as an elected staff member on the councils of Chisholm and Monash. NTEU extends its sympathy to his partner, Margaret, and family.
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Paul Rodan, NTEU Life Member
My Union Summer interns Over January and February this year, Unions NSW again ran the annual Union Summer paid internship program aimed at providing young people with practical experience in organising and campaigning and to identify, develop and encourage future union activists and leaders.
Alex and Laura experienced the Union’s work in a range of areas at a number of universities, including enterprise bargaining negotiations, day to day organising in Branches, and industrial research. During walkthroughs in their visits to Branches, both Alex and Laura signed up new members to the Union!
As part of the program, NTEU NSW and ACT Divisions hosted two interns: Alex Kemp, a graduate of politics and history in WA and Laura Young, a student of early childhood education at ACU.
We wish them all the best for their future union activism. Applications to participate in the 2019 program will be open in late 2018. Paul Doughty, NSW Division Organiser
Above: Michael Thomson, NSW Division Secretary, with Summer interns Alex and Laura.
Launch of NTEU Women’s Network e-bulletin
There is strength in numbers! ARE YOU WITH US?
Join the fight
Fight for the rights of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander CDP workers.
One of the outcomes from the 2017 NTEU Women’s Conference was the decision to establish an email list of conference participants so that information, news and discussion on topics of interest to NTEU women could be shared. The NTEU Women’s Action Committee decided to grab this idea to form the NTEU Women’s Network and invite all NTEU women to be participants on the list, which has now become a monthly e-bulletin. To subscribe to the network go to the link below. If you are having trouble in accessing the page please contact Terri Mac Donald at tmacdonald@ nteu.org.au. Subscribe to Women’s Network e-bulletin: www.nteu.org.au/women/ publications/nteu_womens_ network
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 25 no. 1 • March 2018 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 53
The CapsTone ediTing
Early Career Academic Research Grant for Women $5,000 for one female academic to assist with the costs associated with a research project leading towards a publication.
The CapsTone ediTing
Carerâ€™s Travel Grant for Academic Women $3,000 for a female academic to assist with childcare costs in relation to travel to conduct research or present a paper at a conference. Applications for both grants are open annually from 1 July to 30 May. Each grant is awarded on 30 June every year.
For more info or to apply, please visit capstoneediting.com.au/scholarships
My Union New NTEU staff Steve Cocker Organiser Tas Division Steve joined NTEU at the Launceston Campus of UTas in early January. He has a long background of union representation as a CPSU Governing Councillor while employed in the Commonwealth Public Service, including several stints as a member of bargaining in Centrelink and the Department of Human Services.
Raechel Smith Industrial Organiser WA Division
and workplace rights stemming back approximately 20 years originally as a shop steward/union delegate. When not union organising, Raechel’s interests are enjoying the outdoors as much as possible, tending to her chooks and attempting to grow her own food which she claims is a distinct work in progress. She also has a keen (perhaps demented) passion for collecting vintage items particularly from her early 70’s childhood!
Bradley Beasley Industrial Officer NSW Division Bradley is the Industrial Officer looking after Western Sydney University (WSU)
and Charles Sturt University. He previously lectured at WSU and the College of Law (COL) and was the COL Branch President before coming to work at NTEU. Bradley has been involved in industrial relations in the higher education sector and other industries since the 1980s. Has an unrestricted practicing certificate and is a Legal Practitioner of the Supreme Courts ACT, NSW and the High Court of Australia.
Staff movements Amity Lynch, currently working as UTS Branch Organiser, has been appointed as UNSW Branch Organiser. After the retirement of Dan Coughlan, Angela Scheers is now the ongoing CQU Branch Industrial Organiser.
Recently appointed as DIO following an initial engagement as WA Growth Recruitment Officer, Raechel brings 6½ years of industrial organising experience mostly gained through previous employment at the Australian Services Union. Prior to this, Raechel worked for Oxfam Australia as Manager for the Fremantle Oxfam Fair Trade Store – a retail arm for the NGO promoting and supporting fair trade, human rights, and trade and social justice. A union member since 1993, Raechel has a strong commitment to union principles
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 25 no. 1 • March 2018 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 55
This autumn discover how your NTEU member benefits program can help you save all year round. Check your insurance Insurance premiums will increase in April. Get a quote through your Member Advantage benefits program and save before the rise.
Your mid-year break travel Plan your trip with discounted accommodation, airline lounge memberships and tour packages nationally and internationally.
Book your car rental Choose between two great offers on popular car hire brands, to save on your next holiday or work trip.
Terms and Conditions apply.
For all your benefits visit: www.memberadvantage.com.au/nteu For more information, email: email@example.com or call 1300 853 352
Win a car with the right cover.
Having the right insurance policy allows you to live stress-free as you know you’re covered. At Bank First, our priority is helping you find the right cover. For a limited time, our customers can purchase a Home, Car or Landlord Insurance policy through us and go into the draw to win a Mazda3*. It’s a win-win situation. Call 1300 654 166
Insurance issued by Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 (IAL) trading as CGU of 388 George Street, Sydney, NSW. In arranging this insurance, Victoria Teachers Limited ABN 44 087 651 769 trading as Bank First, AFSL/Australian Credit Licence Number 240 960, acts under its own Australian Financial Services Licence and under an agreement with IAL, not as your agent. We receive commission on these insurance products as a percentage of the premium price for each policy ranging from 5 - 35%. Any advice is general only. This information does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, you should firstly consider the appropriateness of this information and refer to the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before acquiring a product, available by calling 1300 654 166 or visiting a branch. * Competition Terms and Conditions 1. The promoter of the ‘win a car’ competition is Victoria Teachers Limited, trading as Bank First, of 117 Camberwell Road, Hawthorn East, Victoria, Australia, ABN 44 087 651 769. 2. Entrants must be over 18 years of age and a resident of Victoria to be eligible to enter. 3. The competition is not open to contractors or employees of Bank First, IAL or CGU and is conditional on acceptance of these terms and conditions. 4. The competition period is from 9am 5 February 2018 to 5pm 4 May 2018. The total prize pool is $28,300: split into 1 major prize of a Mazda 3 L 6 speed Auto Sedan Touring in Snowflake White Pearl, valued at $25,300 with 1 year CGU Comprehensive Car Insurance; and 3 minor monthly prizes of a $1,000 fuel voucher each. 5. To be eligible for the prize draw customers must take out a Car, Building, Contents, combined Building and Contents or Landlords Insurance policy with Bank First during the competition period. The policy must be held for a minimum of 30 days and still be active at the time of the draw. If the winner no longer holds the qualifying policy at the time of the draw, the prize will be forfeited and redrawn until an eligible entry is selected. 6. All valid entries will be placed in the major draw and in each eligible minor monthly draw. The eligibility period for each minor monthly draw is 5-28 February, 1-31 March and 1 April – 4 May 2018. Each minor monthly prize draw winner will be excluded from subsequent minor monthly prize draws but will remain eligible for the major prize draw. 7. The major prize draw will take place on Friday 8 June 2018. The three minor monthly prize draws will take place on 13 April 2018, 11 May 2018 and 8 June 2018. For the draws on the 8th June where both a minor monthly prize and the major prize will be drawn, the first drawn entry will win the minor monthly prize and the second drawn entry will win the major prize. All draws will occur at 10:00am at Bank First, 117 Camberwell Road, Hawthorn East. 8. The winners of the prize draws will be notified by telephone and advised in writing. The winner of the major prize will also be advertised from Tuesday 12th June 2018 on our website, bankfirst.com.au and in the relevant month’s newsletter (eSlate). All winners must agree to the publication of their name, suburb and photograph for publicity purposes. 9. All minor prize fuel vouchers will be sent via registered post within 21 days of the prize draw. Lost or stolen vouchers are unable to be stopped or replaced and vouchers are not redeemable for cash. All vouchers are subject to the terms and conditions associated with the voucher. The major prize winner must collect their prize within 28 days of the prize draw from Penfold Mazda Burwood, 59 Burwood Highway Burwood VIC 3125.The major prize is unable to be substituted or modifications made. 10. All prize draw results are final and no correspondence will be entered into. Victoria Teachers Limited ABN 44 087 651 769, AFSL/Australian Credit Licence Number 240 960
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Helping our members enjoy exceptional outcomes underpins everything we do. We expertly guide our members through the complexities of superannuation, investments, insurance and retirement strategies before, during and after retirement, giving them the confidence to make smart financial decisions to secure a greater future. UniSuper, quality advice for every stage of life. Find out how UniSuper Advice can help you: unisuper.com.au/exceptional Dr Jolynna Sinanan | Member Postdoctoral Fellow, RMIT
Prepared by UniSuper Management Pty Ltd (ABN 91 006 961 799, AFSL No. 235907) on behalf of UniSuper Limited (ABN 54 006 027 121, AFSL 492806) the trustee of UniSuper (ABN 91 385 943 850). This information is of a general nature only. Before making any decision in relation to your UniSuper membership, you should consider your personal circumstances, the relevant product disclosure statement for your membership category and whether to consult a qualified financial adviser. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.
Published on Mar 8, 2018