NTEU POLICY MANUAL 2017 CONTENTS SECTION 1: GOVERNANCE, FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION .......................................... 3 SECTION 2: MEMBERSHIP, EDUCATION, CAMPAIGNS AND COMMUNICATIONS ........ 8 SECTION 3: ABORIGINAL & TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER MATTERS ............................. 20 SECTION 4: INDUSTRIAL MATTERS ......................................................................................... 23 SECTION 5: HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY AND RESEARCH ............................................. 54 SECTION 6: SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL ............................................................... 91 SECTION 7: NTEU INTERNATIONAL POLICY STATEMENT ............................................... 104 INDEX ............................................................................................................................................... 109
INTRODUCTION The NTEU Policy Manual is composed of the Policy Statements endorsed by the annual National Council Meeting. Policy Statements are amended at the annual National Council Meeting, when new policies are also added. This is the second iteration of the new NTEU Policy Manual. The previous compilation known as the Policy Manual was a collation of all policies passed at National Council Meetings. It had consequently become a very large, repetitive and dated document. That document has been renamed the Policy Archive and all motions carried at National Council Meetings will continue to be added to the archive. I invite all members to familiarise themselves with NTEU policy positions.
Jeannie Rea, National President
SECTION 1: GOVERNANCE, FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION NTEU GOVERNANCE FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION POLICY STATEMENT ROLE AND OBJECTS OF NTEU 1. NTEU was formed in 1993 from an amalgamation of five separate unions that represented general and academic staff in higher education, TAFE and adult education in Australia. 2. As an ‘industry union’ NTEU represents all employees in academic and general/ professional classifications. No other organisation in Australia is able to speak with a unified voice in support of tertiary education and allied institutions and the unique and vital public interests they serve. 3. The broad purpose and role of the Union is to advocate for, and represent the rights, interests and welfare of members in the industrial, legal, political and social spheres. 4. The objects of NTEU are specified in NTEU rules and can be summarised as to: •
Improve and protect the living standards of its members as well as their conditions of employment, working environment and professional interests.
Promote the work of tertiary education institutions in Australia and preserve their independence and integrity.
Foster the process of intellectual debate within the Australian community.
Defend and promote the rights of members to teach, research and disseminate knowledge and information without fear of reprisal.
Promote the concept of equal opportunity in employment and eliminate all forms of discrimination in tertiary education and in all spheres of the Union’s activity.
Create and maintain an informed public opinion concerning tertiary education institutions and their staff.
5. NTEU seeks to fulfil its role and advance its primary objects through industrial and political activity on behalf of members. In this sense, there is no separation between the Union’s lobbying and policy work, our work on professional issues and our work on salaries and conditions of employment. Political activity, including socially responsible citizens’ actions as defined in NTEU rules, and acting in solidarity with other unions and organisations to advance social justice and environmental sustainability is part of this role. 6. The effectiveness of this role derives from the industrial strength and level of organisation of our membership. It is affected by the legal framework in which we operate, by the funding and other policies of governments, and by the industrial approach taken by employers in our industry. 7. NTEU’s membership has many common interests with the membership of other unions in Australia and internationally. NTEU therefore seeks the maximum level of co-operation with other unions, with the ACTU and with international organisations in pursuing common objectives, such as Education International.
STRUCTURE OF THE NTEU Three-level Structure The Union is organised across three levels: the National Office, State and Territory-based Divisions and workplace-based Branches in each of the nationâ€™s 38 universities, as well as Branches covering members in ACE (Vic), TAFE (Vic), Research Institutes, Navitas, RACGP and College of Law. Our permanently staffed workplace-based local Branches in universities are a feature unique to NTEU in the Australian trade union movement. NTEU is a highly democratic member-driven union with elected Branch Committees, Division Councils, and a National Council comprising representatives elected by members on a two year cycle. Council meets annually in October. At each Branch, the highest decision-making body is a general meeting of members. A Branch Committee comprising elected representatives of members governs the affairs of each Branch in between general meetings of members. Each Branch also elects National Councillors, who also have the role of Division Councillors. This mechanism ensures that each Branch is represented on the relevant State or Territory-based Division Council. National Council National Council consists of members directly elected from Branches (in proportion to the number of members at each Branch), three full time National Officers, the eight State and Territory-based Division Secretaries plus three Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander National Councillors and members of the Executive. National Council has a total membership of about 130 delegates. National Council is the supreme decision making body of the NTEU and has the critical task of setting the Unionâ€™s budget for the forthcoming year. National Executive The National Executive is composed of the three full time National Officers, eight Division Secretaries, the Chair of the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Policy Committee and ten ordinary members elected from the floor of the National Council (elected for a two-year term). National Executive meets six times per year and is responsible for running the Union between meetings of National Council. A ballot is held at National Council every two years to elect ten ordinary members of the National Executive. From these, National Council elects a Vice-President (Academic) and Vice-President (General Staff).
GENERAL GOVERNANCE AND ADMINISTRATION Noting that NTEU has around 28,000 members, annual revenues of about $20 million, assets of $22 million, and employs approximately 120 staff and elected officers, it is imperative that the Union must have good governance principles at the centre of its work. NTEU therefore operates on the basis of the following principles and practices: No Political Affiliation The Union has never been affiliated to any political party, maintained slush funds or off budget accounts or made donations to any party or political candidate, and this shall continue to be the case. Financial Administration The Union will maintain and improve its current rigorous and transparent financial administration and oversight practices including: • Rules requiring disclosure by officers and staff of any direct or perceived material conflict of interest. • Provision of financial and general governance training of union officers with delegated authority to continue to be delivered to all relevant NTEU office bearers. •
Oversight of all budgets and accounts by the National Staffing and Finance Committee which meets five times per year. The Committee considers comprehensive and detailed reports for Operating Income and Expenditure (for all levels of the Union), the National Defence Fund, the National Leave Fund, and the National Property Fund.
Provision of monthly Income and Expenditure statements to all levels of the Union in between meetings of the Staffing and Finance Committee.
Centralisation of financial record keeping for all Branches, Divisions and the National Office to ensure financial policy consistency and day to day accountability.
A Credit Card and Expenditure Policy under which NTEU Officers and staff must account and provide receipts for all expenditures and identify the Budget line item and/or activity against which such expenditure is to be charged, based on three levels of internal review. This not only maintains good governance but also ensures that the Union is able to recoup all relevant GST input credits. Financial probity and control is reinforced through strict credit card limits of between $1,000 and $10,000 p.a. (depending on the size of the Division or Branch concerned), and no capacity for cash withdrawals.
Periodic competitive tendering for important and/or moderately high cost external services or work including property redevelopment and investment advice, and external auditors.
Periodic testing of service providers (e.g. printing and website hosting) against contemporary market prices.
Staffing and Salary Policy
All NTEU staff positions are and shall continue to be subject to rigorous and competitive appointment and job classification procedures with all permanent appointments being subject to internal and external advertisement. The National Executive shall continue to fix all employment conditions under the delegated authority of the National Council and Division Councils, through the Salaried Elected Officers Terms and Conditions of Work and an FWC approved NTEU National Collective Agreement for staff. Each staff and Officer salary will be publicly disclosed to the National Council as part of the annual process of assessing and approving the NTEU Budget, and Elected Officers’ salary rates will also disclosed in the Union’s Audited Financial Statements. Salaries and employment conditions shall continue to be benchmarked against industry standards to ensure that salaries increase only in line with increases for Union members. No lump-sum payments will be made to National Officers leaving or losing their positions and no money will be paid to the National Officers except as stipulated in their Terms and Conditions of Work. Exercise of Delegated Authority The National Collective Agreement for staff affirms the authority of the General Secretary in relation to the exercise of delegated authority to ensure that: •
Staff have clear lines of responsibility and authority and that they are not put in the position of needing to make decisions about whose authority applies when faced with conflicting instructions.
The decisions of National, Division and Branch Executives/Committees and/or Councils may be implemented as directed.
Staff at all levels of the union may be directed to act to protect the interests of the membership and the union where contrary direction may have been given.
The authority of the General Secretary and Division Secretaries should not be exercised unreasonably to override decisions made at each level of the Union. Policies and Procedures The Union will continue to maintain and update policies and procedures on Privacy of Membership Details and the Appropriate Use of Information Technology and the NTEU Database to protect members’ interests and the National Office shall undertake a comprehensive risk assessment against key governance and financial issues.
ETHICAL INVESTMENTS In framing an appropriate investment strategy, a number of important policy and technical issues are noted, including: •
The need to ensure that investment is ethical and sustainable, with a particular focus on environmental standards, labour standards and human rights. This involves both negative screening and positive investment measures.
The need for financially sustainable investment returns on members’ funds.
The need to confirm that companies or investments selected are involved in ethical and sustainable practices
The need to have good ongoing professional advice.
On this basis, the Union’s Ethical Investment policy is based on three key elements: •
A post-inflation investment return target of 3-4% p.a.
A mix of negative screening (e.g. companies which invest in tobacco, armaments, alcohol, uranium, animal testing, gambling and fossil fuels, or which breach human rights, labour or environmental standards) and positive investment measures (e.g. renewable energy, energy efficiency, mass public transport, sustainable agriculture and public housing).
A diversified portfolio with an appropriate balance of sectors and stocks.
Accordingly, the Union’s investment portfolio has been divested of all assets which do not fit the adopted strategy, and new equities have been purchased that are compliant with the strategy.
ETHICAL SOURCING AND INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY All NTEU merchandise must be sourced from ethical suppliers, as endorsed by relevant ethical sourcing codes such as Fairwear or the TCFUA. The NTEU should, further, build awareness amongst members of issues to do with international workers’ rights and ethical sourcing.
SECTION 2: MEMBERSHIP, EDUCATION, CAMPAIGNS AND COMMUNICATIONS CAMPAIGN, ORGANISING, RECRUITMENT AND ASSISTANCE TO MEMBERS POLICY STATEMENT NTEU believes that the most effective way to fulfil the role and objectives of the Union is through union members working together to pursue a common purpose. This is often referred to as collective action. Collective action sustains the Union in every part of its existence. At its very heart, a union is a collection of people who pool resources to apply to a common purpose. At its most basic, union membership fees are the financial resources that are gathered together to allow the Union to organise and campaign in pursuit of its goals. However, Union resources are greater than financial resources alone, and the strength of the Union comes from the work of members, activists, delegates, officers and staff working together to achieve collective goals. The democratic structures of the NTEU at local, state and national levels determine our direction and the collective effort of the organisation at each level are then applied to the pursuit of these goals. The National Council is the supreme decision-making body of the union. Provided they are not in conflict with the National Council, Division Council and Division Executives are the decision making-bodies for state level of the union, and Branch Executives are likewise the decision-making bodies at a local level provided they are consistent with the other larger decision-making bodies. Elected officers and staff of the union have an obligation to implement the decisions of these democratically elected bodies. Once the goals are determined, the issues and objectives need to be communicated to members, and the efforts of members need to be coordinated and directed to the agreed common purpose. These processes of communication, coordination and direction are referred to as organising. Pursuing a campaign requires the application of organising and communications tools to an agreed common purpose, with the objective of persuading members, staff, the community, university managements and government of the merits of that purpose. Effective campaigns require clear objectives, planning and a budget before initiated. Organising and campaigning require high-level communication and engagement with members so that they come to view themselves as defenders of the values of the sector and the collective interests of staff. A corollary is prioritisation of the recruitment, training and support of Delegates to undertake workplace recruitment and engage in campaigns. Effective organising requires member involvement and engagement, a clear direction and effective communications. Each of these needs to be considered at a general level for the organisation as a whole and at a local workplace level.
MEMBERSHIP GROWTH AND RECRUITMENT NTEU believes that its ability to effectively meet its goals and objectives is affected significantly by the level of its membership across the country, and in each Branch of the organisation. Strong membership levels provide a base of support in each workplace that can be organised in pursuit of the Union’s objectives. Recruitment of new members and retention of existing members is therefore an essential part of organising, and a key consideration in all the work of the Union. As a consequence, recruitment and retention is a role expected of all Elected Officers, Delegates members and staff. Recent union surveys of new members indicate that a large proportion of these members joined the Union on recommendation from a colleague. This underlines the importance of workplace union representatives or Delegates in maintaining union density. It also means that positive stories in the workplace about union campaigns or assistance to individuals contributes to the recruitment and retention effort. NTEU believes that members need to be supported in their workplace through a combination of campaigning, promotion, and individual member assistance. These efforts need to be balanced to ensure that members see and feel the union is there for them when they need it. Membership growth requires that retention of members must also be a key priority and focus. Around 50% of new members leave the Union within 3-4 years. Those that stay members beyond this time are more likely to stay members for a significant period. While many membership departures are a result of normal churn associated with changes of employment, creating a relationship with each member is important to reduce attrition, and to encourage departing members to re-join the Union when they are re-employed in the sector. As a consequence, recruitment efforts expected of Elected Officers, Delegates, Members and Staff include:
Direct face to face contact with potential members.
Using the delivery of a new member’s kit to introduce new members to the Union: give members a sense of belonging to a collective; seek to reduce member turnover; and, to identify interested members for possible future Delegate roles.
The conducting of workplace meetings and training/information sessions for specific work groups, work types, and staff with common experiences and needs.
Contacting members who have resigned without explanation to assess their reasons for resigning, and seeking to retain them as members.
The delivery of pay rise leaflets (including membership forms) to potential members.
The maintenance and regular updating of non-member databases for mapping, campaigning and recruitment purposes on an annual basis as a minimum.
The regular distribution of union communications including emails, printed newsletters, and maintenance of the Branch websites.
Identifying, recruiting, training and supporting Delegates in all workplaces.
Providing guidance to local union leaders and Delegates about their role in these activities.
INDUSTRIAL ASSISTANCE FOR MEMBERS NTEU is a collective of higher education workers, not a fee-for-service organisation. NTEUâ€™s primary focus for industrial representation is to ensure that the rights and entitlements of the membership are enforced and protected. NTEU provides industrial assistance to individual members with workplace issues via the provision of advice and support through the Elected Officers and staff of the Union. Industrial assistance will generally be in the form of verbal and written advice, support and representation at workplace meetings, and representation at industrial tribunals such as the Fair Work Commission. On occasion, at the discretion of the Union, NTEU will seek legal advice and/or pursue matters through the courts to assist with the resolution of a workplace issue. Union members can expect to receive support in the resolution of their workplace issues, but the provision of support and advice always remains at the discretion of the Union and within resource constraints. A decision on providing higher level advice and and/or representation will be subject to consideration of the resources required, the number of people affected, and the potential for increasing union membership. NTEU retains the right at any point to limit or withdraw the provision of advice and assistance to members. Circumstances where the Union might withdraw advice include where the rights and entitlements of the broader membership are threatened, where the member fails to follow the advice of the Union, or where the member seeks alternative legal advice. As the Division Secretary is the position responsible for managing NTEU Staff workloads and the resources of the Division all decisions pertaining to the provision or withdrawal of industrial advice reside with the relevant Division Secretary, and are subject to direction by the General Secretary.
INDUSTRIAL ASSISTANCE FOR PEOPLE JOINING WITH A PRE-EXISTING WORKPLACE ISSUE NTEU believes that all university staff benefit from the work of the Union, yet only a proportion of those benefiting contribute financially and intellectually to the benefit of all through active union membership. If a person seeks to join the Union only when they have a workplace issue for which they need assistance, they are seeking personal benefit from access to the limited resources generated by long-term Union members. It is analogous to an uninsured driver who has a car accident seeking an insurance company to pay for the repairs. . Union membership is more than just an insurance policy. Through their membership of the Union, members takes joint and collective responsibility to pursue improvements in all staff salaries and employment conditions, to ensure that the broad views of the membership and the sector are represented to policy makers and government, that management decisions are held to scrutiny in the workplace, and that the broader aims of the labour movement are pursued. In this context, members who join NTEU seeking assistance with a pre-existing issue can have no expectation of industrial assistance.
The NTEU determines that: 1. Union members have a right to advice and, where appropriate, assistance with workplace issues as determined by the issues and circumstances involved. Nonmembers or members who join with a pre-existing issue cannot expect that assistance will be available. 2. A potential member seeking industrial or other assistance may be provided with initial basic advice sufficient to outline the benefits of joining. No substantive advice will be provided until the person has joined. 3. Once joined, a new member with a pre-existing issue may be provided with limited advice about the nature and options for dealing with their matter. This is a right all members should enjoy. This should include exploration of the significance of the issue, the number of other people who may be affected by it, and the potential for additional membership to be generated by dealing with this issue. Authority to provide this initial support resides with the relevant Division Secretary. Division Secretaries to consult with the relevant Branch/Branches to ensure a consistent approach to industrial assistance for new members with a pre-existing workplace issue. 4. A new member with a pre-existing issue will not be provided with representation at meetings with management or at any tribunal such as the Fair Work Commission. The relevant Division Secretary may authorise a higher level of advice and/or representation at meetings and/or tribunals, where the resolution of the workplace issue has significant precedent value through potential impact on the protection and enforcement of the rights and entitlements of the broader membership. 5. A decision to provide industrial assistance equivalent to that provided to an existing member may be considered provided the new member pays 12 months back dues (or a pro rata payment for service of less than 12 months).. The extent of the support required will remain under review and may be withdrawn at any time at the Division Secretaryâ€™s discretion.
6. Exceptions to the requirement for back pay may be made by the relevant Division Secretary where the payment of back dues would cause significant hardship to the non-member or be unreasonable in the circumstances.
WORKPLACE DELEGATES Delegates are critical to the organisation of the Union and the workforce. Delegates are more than just the â€œeyes and earsâ€? of the Union they are the activists who generate engagement with the members, and play a valuable role as recruiters as well as serving as conduits for information and communication between the Union and its members in each workplace. They are the first union representative many staff will meet when they are employed. The identification, recruitment, training and ongoing support of workplace delegates at the school, department or work unit level must be a high priority for all levels of the Union and should form a key component of the Annual Work Development Plan of all Branch Organisers. For Branches or organisations with 40 or more members, the Branch Executive will determine defined work areas for the purpose of Delegate representation with which they believe members will best identify. This will normally be on a Division/Department, Faculty or
School basis but it may be on a campus or building basis, or for an interest group such as research-only staff or senior staff. For smaller worksites the Branch Executive will identify whether one or more Delegate/s are needed. Delegates must have the support of members in their workplace and should wherever possible be nominated following a vote of indication of support from their colleagues. Branch Committees, working with Union staff, will identify and encourage activists to nominate as Delegates. Particular regard will be had to encouraging a balance of general staff, academic and ELICOS staff (as appropriate), women and men, ongoing, fixed term and casual, and younger Delegates. Divisions are responsible for the support and monitoring of the development of active delegate networks at all Branches including through the provision of coordinated delegate training. Delegates will all be encouraged to attend Delegate training provided at the Branch or Division level to ensure the skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of workplace delegates provide for a better organised union at the workplace. This will increase power and influence of the NTEU and equip the Union for sustainable growth to maintain our ability to deliver for members. At a minimum delegates must be provided with: a. A letter of confirmation and thanks from the NTEU Branch President. b. A kit of membership forms, copy of the relevant enterprise agreement (if not available on the web), a summary of the agreement(s), relevant NTEU contacts, and a Delegate booklet or kit prepared by National Office in consultation with Divisions. c. The Delegate role statement as provided in the NTEU delegate training module. d. A list of staff in their work area identifying who are members.
COMMUNICATIONS NTEU believes that informing and involving members in the issues of significance to the Union are essential to effective organising, recruitment and campaigning. Effective communications to this end involve a broad range of activities including direct face to face contact and discussion, telephone contact, emails and e-bulletins, printed newsletters, paid and free media. NTEU notes that technological advances are contributing to an evolving communications landscape, which presents opportunities and challenges for organisations such as the NTEU. This dynamic environment requires regular and ongoing attention to ensure that NTEU communications remain relevant, efficient and effective, and that members remain engaged and updated. NTEU affirms that optimising and enhancing the Unionâ€™s communications activities is an ongoing priority that relates directly to the organising and recruitment strength of the Union. Seeking to further build on our communications capacity and tools with both members and potential members is a critical activity for all levels of the Union. NTEU further affirms communications activities are necessarily informed by NTEU policy positions on a range of other issues, including, but not limited to: policy and research, industrial matters, social media policy, campaigns, organising and recruitment.
NTEU Communications Priorities NTEU will continue to monitor and respond to the NTEU’s communications needs and seek to enhance communications activities in the short, medium and longer term. NTEU affirms that that Divisions and Branch priorities in relation to communications activities include: •
Ensuring systematic communication with local workplace Delegates, members, potential members, other organisations and the local community on issues affecting members in the workplace.
Maintaining a consistent set of communication tools and approaches, including regular production of local newsletters, e-bulletins, and pay rise leaflets.
Regularly updating, maintaining and contributing to Branch and Division websites, and social media sites, where applicable.
Regularly, and at least annually, maintaining and updating all staff lists and email distribution lists to ensure that communications to non-members are able to be quickly and effectively accessed when the need arises.
Considering areas where National Office assistance may provide opportunities for the enhancement of NTEU communications activities.
NTEU affirms key National Office priorities in relation to the NTEU’s communications needs include: •
The regular updating and maintenance of the NTEU website and NTEU national social media platforms.
The facilitation, production and distribution of electronic, and hard copy communications and publications, as necessary, in line with the NTEU’s broader goals and objectives.
Ongoing consideration of options for the improvement and integration of NTEU’s communications systems.
The offering of assistance, training and development for Divisions and Branches seeking support in relation to communications activities.
NTEU Media Profile NTEU affirms that a proactive approach to managing the Union’s media profile, and engaging with the media, is an important component in furthering the Union’s key objectives in the public domain, and enhancing the organisation’s reputation among members. NTEU will continue to investigate opportunities to enhance engagement with the media at the National, Division and Branch levels, framed by considerations including: •
NTEU’s communication needs in the context of wider union goals, strategies and policy objectives.
Opportunities for co-operation between National Office, Divisions and Branches in identifying and capitalising on media opportunities.
The development and reinforcement of consistent messaging across National Office, Divisions and Branches, in line with the NTEU’s key objectives and broader policy positions.
Social Media NTEU affirms that social media has become a well-established component of its integrated communications activities and capabilities. NTEU notes that a key aspect of campus organising is the capacity of the Branch Executive to communicate effectively with members, to build site-specific campaigns. NTEU further notes that the use of social media performs and important role in effective campaign communication and that social media platforms are most effective when they have high reach. NTEU affirms that branch-based autonomy to run social media campaigns through established social media platforms consistent with the Union’s social media policy, is an important component of effective communications activities. In acknowledgement of this, NTEU will continue offering social media training opportunities for Union staff with responsibility for social media platforms.
UNION EDUCATION AND TRAINING POLICY STATEMENT NTEU endorses the development and maintenance of a coherent and responsive program of union education and training within the Union. Union education and training should address the needs of Union officers, members and staff, and should be overseen by the National Executive to ensure that, while meeting the immediate needs of these groups and of Branches and Divisions, they are also consistent with the Union’s strategic objectives. Allocation of significant resources to union education and training can only be justified by their contribution to union power and union growth. The development of the program will therefore be a mix of content identified and requested by members and staff, and content identified by senior officers and the National Executive as supporting urgent or important priorities. NTEU education and training will be based upon a three main subject areas – The Union, The Higher Education System, and Work and Employment, with three main components – Knowledge, Activities and Practices. NTEU union education and training should prioritise the following areas: •
Development of greater union presence in workplaces, by strengthening Branch delegate structures, and by informing and educating members.
Training for members on where to locate and how to defend their rights and entitlements, the successes of the union and the labour movement and how to recruit their co-workers to the union.
Training for delegates and activists in their critical role for the union, how to communicate to, connect with and support their fellow workers in the workplace and coordinate their activities with the union.
Training for elected officials on the importance of decision-making at the Branch, Division and National level, the function, work and strategy of the union and the requirements of good governance including compliance with the NTEU rules and legal requirements.
Induction of new staff and continued training of existing staff to ensure the acquisition of specific competencies necessary to perform their jobs.
Preparation for enterprise bargaining.
However, at a broader level, union education and training should also reflect the strong capacity of NTEU members and staff as learners to actively engage with complex issues. NTEU education needs to provide forums for officers, activists and staff, both together and separately, to reflect upon their practice, examine the evidentiary and theoretical basis of existing practices and strategy, and to contribute to the development of new strategies and practices. A central function of the union education and training program is also to ensure that knowledge and good practices that already exist within the Union are recorded, accessible and actually shared across the Union. The further development of on-line resources will play a large part in this.
NTEU SCHOLARSHIPS POLICY STATEMENT NTEU has established a consolidated scholarship program consisting of five scholarships. The Joan Hardy Scholarship, established in 2004, is in memory of the late Joan Hardy, a long-time higher education union activist who died in 2003. The scholarship, worth $5000, is for any student undertaking post-graduate nursing research at an Australian public university, and expects to submit the thesis within one year of being awarded the scholarship. The Carolyn Allport Scholarship, established in 2014, is in recognition of Dr Carolyn Allport’s contribution to the leadership and development of the NTEU in her 16 years as National President. The scholarship, worth $5000 per year for a maximum of 3 years is available to a woman undertaking postgraduate feminist studies, by research, in any discipline in an Australian public university. Both of these scholarships are overseen http://www.nteu.org.au/myunion/scholarships
The NTEU Morning Star Scholarship, for Indigenous students in a Certificate IV or Diploma course at CDU in Community Services or a related area. The value of the scholarship is $2,000. The scholarship was established in 1996 by Pamela and Alan Harris. NTEU began sponsoring this Scholarship in 2009. This scholarship is overseen by Charles Darwin
University: http://www.cdu.edu.au/sites/default/files/scholarships/docs/national_tertiary_education_unio n_morning_star.pdf The NTEU Charles Sturt University (CSU) Branch Indigenous Education Scholarship for an Indigenous Australian commencing an undergraduate teaching degree at CSU, who demonstrates a commitment to community issues. The value of the scholarship is $4,000. This scholarship is overseen by Charles Sturt University: http://www.csu.edu.au/courses/fees-and-costs/help-with-costs/scholarships/foundation/1styear/the-national-tertiary-education-union-charles-sturt-university-branch-indigenouseducation-scholarship The NTEU Murdoch University Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Scholarship was established to support and encourage Undergraduate Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander students who demonstrate a commitment to community, across the various different stages of their degree. The three scholarships support students who are in their first year or final year of undergraduate study, or who are living or studying in a remote area. The scholarship is awarded by Murdoch with funds provided by the NTEU Branch, and selection is jointly made by the Branch President and the NTEU Branch Committee Member (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander). http://our.murdoch.edu.au/Student-life/Finances/Browsescholarships/UG_NTEU/
NTEU PRIORITIES 2017-2018 NTEU National Council notes: That there are both external and internal challenges that require prioritisation of the Union’s resources for 2017 - 2018. Australia now has a mass tertiary education system concentrated in public provision of higher education, but with increasingly contested provision in VET, through deregulation and full contestability of public subsidies, governments actively promote competition between TAFE and private providers. By 2016 there were 1,149,087 Australian higher education enrolments of which 77% were domestic and 56% were female) and 4.2 million enrolled in VET courses. One quarter of Australian 25-64 year olds now have a bachelor degree, which is higher than the OECD average of 15%, but with only 6% holding a masters’ degree, this is only half the OECD average. There are almost 75,000 ongoing staff and 46,000 fixed term (by FTE). In terms of casuals, the NTEU estimates based on each FTE is around four people, so there are around 85,000 casually employed staff. The complete and utter failure of the market model in VET and the systematic rorting of public funding and exploitation of vulnerable students has forced the federal government to abandon the highly discredited VET-FEE HELP scheme and replace it with a more tightly VET Loan scheme. There is little doubt that the unconscionable behaviour of some for-profit providers in the VET sector dampened the LNP Coalition Government’s enthusiasm to open public funding in higher education to non-university providers. Today government grants account for less than half (about 40%) of total income of public universities. The next most important sources of income are domestic student fees (including Commonwealth supported students), which account for another quarter of all income and international student fees which contribute almost one dollar in five. The remaining income
is made up of a variety of sources including external research grants, investment income and donations and bequests. Within the OECD, Australia continues to feature with the second lowest public investment in higher education (after Japan) while charging amongst the highest tuition fees. While the federal government has abandoned trying to fully deregulate domestic undergraduate fees, the 2017-18 federal budget persists with cuts to the level of public investment in higher education. There most recent policy agenda seeks to cut the level of public investment per student by more than 10%; and includes making students pay more by increasing fees by 7.5%, while cutting university block grants through the imposition of two 2.5% efficiency dividends. The sector, political and public discourse on funding tertiary education continues to be framed by debates around the proportions of public to private individual benefit accruing from undertaking qualifications. With some Australian vice-chancellors remuneration packages exceeding one million dollars the increasing domination of university councils by business and industry and the capture of management by neoliberal advisors, while at the same time two out of five staff are employed precariously with the majority of classes now taught by sessionally employed academics, Australian public universities are approaching a crisis of credibility and sustainability. At the same time, neoliberal governments and employers rule over our working lives. The anti-union clamour of employers, government and in society generally has reached fever pitch, yet union power is at an all-time low. Successive parliaments have legislated away our industrial rights, leaving us with an industrial relations system that does not adequately protect the weak and emboldens the strong. The right to withdraw our labour is now severely curtailed. Industrial action can only be taken after a tortuous secret ballot, and only then within the period of bargaining for a new Agreement. Bargaining occurs in a severely legally prescribed fashion, diminishing the capacity for parties to genuinely and quickly reach a deal. Agreements may be terminated upon the application of the employer despite the opposition of the employees and the union the Agreement covers. Penalty rates have been cut and awards are increasingly irrelevant. Our industrial laws fall dramatically short of International Labor Standards. At the same time, the union movement’s capacity to achieve justice for our members within these constraints has also declined. The Fair Work Commission continues to earn its nickname “the bosses’ court”, with all 14 Commission appointments by the Coalition since 2013 coming from a conservative or employer background. Better outcomes can occasionally be achieved in the Courts, but only with immense financial outlay on lawyers, and the patience to wait for an outcome for years on end. Within this context, it is no wonder that job security remains the major employment concern of workers covered by the NTEU, due to continual job cuts in restructures and reviews and the rapid rise of insecure employment. Overwork continues unabated, with academic staff working on average more than 50 hours per week and general and professional staff donating hours of uncompensated overtime every week. Our members’ rights and entitlements, hard-won over successive rounds of bargaining, continue to be threatened by university managements seeking to undermine autonomy,
destroy collaborative and collegiate decision-making, and to adopt a corporate model of decision-making and control. It is only with the support of our membership that the NTEU can successfully oppose the desire of university managements for unilateral control. One measure of a union’s authority and influence is its membership density in the workplace. Where management prerogative is asserted in the workplace, trained and active members pushing back and correcting misinformation are vital to prevent new norms being established around the limits of the legitimate exercise of managerial authority. Delegates and activists trained to represent themselves and other members when trouble strikes are essential to the union’s strength and visibility in the workplace. Therefore, this National Council Meeting determines that the priorities of the Union over the next twelve months will be: 1. Securing and enforcing strong enterprise agreements that maintain and improve salaries and conditions of work; 2. Campaigning for change to the industrial laws; 3. Further direct focus on effective recruitment and membership engagement; 4. Public Advocacy and action to change government policy and the political discourse on the funding of tertiary education and research.
ACCESS TO UNION RESOURCES AND REIMBURSEMENTS FOR CASUAL NTEU MEMBER ACTIVISTS National Council notes that casual members are full members of NTEU and possess the same rights to participate in the structures of NTEU under NTEU rules. National Council notes that casual member activists and delegates perform a crucial role in organising fellow casual, fixed-term and continuing employees in the higher education sector. National Council acknowledges the differential conditions that exist in relation to casual member involvement in NTEU structures and organising activities. National Council affirms the importance of proactively supporting and facilitating the equitable access to participation of casual members within NTEU as a matter of principle; and further affirms that NTEU is a progressive trade union standing alongside the most exploited workers in the Australian higher education sector. While Council acknowledges the efforts NTEU Branches and Divisions already make to support the engagement of casual activists, NTEU will: •
Support the activism and organising work of casual NTEU members by providing access to union facilities to undertake approved Union work, including granting access to work spaces and desks, photocopiers and printers, landline phones and computers, where practicable and as approved at the level of Branch and/or Division on a case-by-case basis. • Establish an application process to enable casual NTEU activists in elected
roles to apply for reimbursement for loss of wages, at the appropriate rate of pay in their Branch’s Enterprise Agreement, when conducting a union activity that would normally be paid for if the member were not a casual (for example, trade union training leave or time release). Such application would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and determined at the General Secretary‘s discretion, after consultation with the relevant Division Secretary. •
Seek payment by employers for casual workers at the appropriate pay rate of their branch’s Enterprise Agreement for trade union leave (on a pro-rata basis), participation in enterprise bargaining (including related preparation and consultation) and similar activities.
SECTION 3: ABORIGINAL & TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER MATTERS ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER POLICY NTEU remains a vocal proponent for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander members, peoples and their communities. NTEU advocates greater opportunities and support, to access and participate in higher education; increased levels of employment across the sector; ensure the principals of self-determination are inculcated, whilst pursuing the realisation of true social and restorative justice. NTEU therefore endorses the following policy statement: NTEU notes: Australia is a privileged country whose economic, social and political condition are the envy of many first-world nations. Unfortunately, by every available social and economic indicator, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people do not share this privilege. Disproportionately, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people remain confined to the margins of society. The lived reality is entrenched poverty, distressing rates of imprisonment, appalling health outcomes, restricted access to appropriate housing, high levels of unemployment and poor educational attainment. A plethora of evidence exists, demonstrating societal rights, freedoms and opportunities afforded to members of mainstream society are not, and have not traditionally been offered to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. The genesis of the relationship between Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people and European settlers, was based upon the annulled concept of Terra Nullius. As sovereign, self-determined peoples, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders are not only entitled to the same rights, freedoms and opportunities; but must also have their sovereign rights enshrined in a treaty or series of treaties. Historically, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people participated in systems of education that were heavily influenced by policies of assimilation and segregation. While todayâ€™s education system has advanced, impressions of those policies remain. The system today, across all States, Territories and stages of the education journey (pre, primary, secondary and tertiary) has sought to incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, traditions and identity - although efforts to integrate culture have been largely symbolic and achieve varying levels of success. It is vital to recognise that a one-size-fits-all approach to education does not meet the requirements of all members in any society. The documented educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students only reinforces the need for a paradigm shift. Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander staff at Australian universities play a crucial role in supporting Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander students. In most instances, this support begins prior to enrolment and extends throughout and beyond the students time at university. The support received from those staff and the centres in which the staff are located, provide for a culturally safe environment on campus and house a unique repository for cultural
knowledge. To ensure Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander students success, retention and completion rates are improved, the guidance and mentorship provided by Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander staff is inimitable. These staff give counsel on education and cultural matters, represent the university within their communities and to a range of external stakeholders and act as a cultural liaison – all while consistently demonstrating their abilities as researchers, educators and administrators. NTEU believes: Words alone deliver only best endeavours - the realisation of those words into action demonstrates conviction. The development, adoption and implementation of foundation agreements such as the NTEU Framework for a Post Treaty Union (2002)1, sets the basis for a partnership between Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander members, their communities and the Union. In adhering to the principles of self-determination; the voice and influence of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander members must be heard - not only within union and the workplace, but across a range of senior management roles in the university sector, through to advisory appointments at the ministerial levels of government. Any commitment to effect change across the union, must also be replicated within the workplace of our membership. This commitment should encompasses a range of measures, including: •
Target, increase and measure employment opportunities, underpinned by the negotiation of obligations, protected in industrial instruments.
Maintain traditional language, knowledges, concepts and systems.
Respect for cultural obligations.
Provision of culturally appropriate learning and teaching environments at all Australian universities and
Ensuring the adherence of ethical research protocols when working along-side Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities.
The lived experience of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples today is directly influenced firstly by, the act of colonisation itself and secondly, through the conduct of governments, churches and authorities in generations past. While change has been achieved, a Terra Nullius of the mind remains and is prevalent within some sections of the Australian community. Ideological, interventionist and assimilatory policies, orchestrated by governments of all political persuasion, continue to oppress Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples. True social and restorative justice cannot take place without admission, apology, action and amends. Campaigns to see justice realised are most successful when they are supported and assisted appropriately. The sovereignty of Australia’s first peoples has not and cannot be assumed by outdated concepts, nor can it be procured through tokenistic means of recognition. The negotiation of 1
a treaty or treaties is fundamental and must not be diminished or quashed via calls for recognition elsewhere. NTEU affirms in unequivocal terms, resolute conviction and support for the continuation of the NTEU national campaign to see treaties negotiated with all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and will ensure appropriate resources are allocated to achieve this objective. NTEU will:
Continue the implementation of the NTEU Framework for a Post Treaty Union (2002).
Maintain our current elected and internal structure to ensure appropriate representation and advocacy for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander members.
Negotiate and implement the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander bargaining claim across all forthcoming bargaining rounds.
Increase employment opportunities across all levels of the Union for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Advocate for increased government funding across all Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander support programmes.
On the principle of self-determination, continued advocacy and action to ensure Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples are directly involved in high level processes that determine policy directions at government and university levels.
Advocate to ensure an ethical approach to research, conducted with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples and their communities.
Campaign to end racism and discrimination on university campuses and workplaces and take action to resist the mainstreaming of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander support centres in Australian universities.
Support campaigns to see social and restorative justice achieved.
Oppose and campaign against current and future university and/or government policies that are based purely on ideology and have been designed to mainstream, intervene upon, assimilate, oppress and silence Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Promote and support the negotiation of a treaty and/or treaties as the foundation article/s on which to establish further recognition.
Recognise and acknowledge A&TSI Days of Struggle, Defiance and Significance.
SECTION 4: INDUSTRIAL MATTERS NTEU INDUSTRIAL MATTERS POLICY 2017 INDUSTRIAL FRAMEWORK AND LEGISLATION NTEU notes: 1.1
The vast majority of appointees to the Fair Work Commission over the last twenty years have been from an employer background. The decisions of the Fair Work Commission over the last twenty years have become accordingly more and more to the advantage of the employers. The achievement of justice for working people in the Fair Work Commission is now more challenging than ever.
Modern award rates of pay in the tertiary education sector bear little resemblance to the rates of pay actually paid by employers in the sector, due to the repetition of yearly flat-rate increases to the underlying awards, as compared to the increases won through enterprise bargaining and industrial action. With very few awarddependent members or potential members, this means for most NTEU members the award system is largely irrelevant and fails to provide a fair safety net through the “better off overall test.”
The compulsory four-yearly review of modern awards set out in the Fair Work Act unfairly restricts the capacity of unions to seek award variations where necessary to maintain a fair safety net.
The Fair Work Act restricts access to the unfair dismissal jurisdiction for staff of entities that employ fewer than 15 people, or where the employee earns more than $142,000.
The Fair Work Act restricts the content of enterprise agreements such that beneficial provisions relating to bargaining agents’ fees, right of entry and further protections against unfair dismissal are not permitted to be included.
The Fair Work Act allows employers to reach individual employment agreements with employees that undercut conditions in collective agreements.
The systemic failure of the good faith bargaining framework put in place by the Fair Work Act.
Industrial action in support of multi-employer collective agreements or sector-wide bargaining is not protected under the Fair Work Act.
Employers have very wide scope under the Fair Work Act to suspend or terminate industrial action where it is seen to threaten the welfare of the population, or a part of it.
Employers have wide scope to achieve termination of collective agreements after their nominal expiry date on the grounds that to do so is “not contrary to the public interest.” Such terminations unfairly undercut conditions and shift the balance of power in bargaining to the employer.
By limiting the availability of protected industrial action to a “bargaining period” the Fair Work Act effectively removes the right to strike. The International Labour
Organisation (ILO) has described the Fair Work Act’s processes for regulating access to protected industrial action as ‘excessive’. 1.12
The Fair Work Act no longer has a generalised dispute-settling arbitral function grounded in evaluation of the merits of the case.
Union right of entry is strictly curtailed under the Fair Work Act.
The general protections in the Fair Work Act are largely denuded of effect due to the reading down of the provisions by the Courts.
NTEU believes: 1.15 Any employee who benefits from a union negotiated Collective Agreement should contribute financially to the union. 1.16
The composition of the Fair Work Commission should be redressed so to ensure true balance between employer and employee / union interests.
Percentage increases should apply on a yearly basis to the modern awards in the tertiary sector, so as to restore relativities between classifications and improve the effectiveness of the better off overall test.
Unions should be permitted to apply for variations to the modern awards without restriction to the four-yearly modern award review timeline.
The unfair dismissal jurisdiction should be available to all employees.
Employees and employers should be completely free to determine the content of enterprise agreements.
Australian labour law should align with the ILO’s core labour standards, notably freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, including the right to strike (Conventions No. 87 and 98).
The Fair Work Act should be amended to remove employer access to Individual Flexibility Arrangements.
The Fair Work Act’s good faith bargaining requirements should be bolstered to secure substantive rather than only procedural rights and obligations to support fair bargaining.
The Fair Work Act should be amended to ensure engaging in bargaining in sectors or across an industry does not diminish the right to take industrial action.
All employees, whether or not they’re Union members, should have the right to take industrial action during or outside a bargaining period. No employee or union should be threatened with coercive or punitive orders from a Court as a consequence of exercising their right to strike or engaging in legitimate political protest.
Legally protected industrial action should be available to employees, without the necessity for a secret ballot, without the requirement to provide the employer with three clear days’ notice of industrial action and without the condition that bargaining has commenced.
Australia’s industrial framework should legally protect industrial action by ALL employees, whether or not they are union members, unless that industrial action has a severe adverse effect on third parties that cannot be considered a party to the dispute; not where it is only possible that some adverse effect ensue, or where the effect is simply an inconvenience, except as covered in 1.31.
There should be no capacity for an employer to terminate a collective agreement except by consent of the employees/ union.
The Fair Work Act should be amended to empower the Fair Work Commission to arbitrate disputes about any employment matter.
Right of entry provisions should be relaxed to facilitate entry of union officials to all areas of workplaces for the purposes of recruitment, discussions and meetings, subject only to the requirement for safety and that work not be unreasonably disrupted.
Workers should be able to take secondary boycotts and sympathy actions in support of other workers
NTEU will: 1.32
Work towards securing the above changes in Australia’s industrial framework by all means available, including by campaigning, making appropriate representations to government and political parties for the amendment of the Fair Work Act, and by coordinated selection of cases before tribunals and courts.
ENTERPRISE BARGAINING NTEU notes: 2.1
Enterprise bargaining provides an opportunity for the Union to achieve wage outcomes for members that maintain and improve the real value of wages, and improved conditions of employment.
Enterprise bargaining also presents opportunities to improve Union strength.
The maintenance of NTEU’s position as the industry union for tertiary education staff depends on it having a significant presence and capacity to bargain at all tertiary education institutions.
The expansion of the number of university-controlled entities and private higher education providers and the generally poor regulation of employment conditions in these institutions.
NTEU believes: 2.5
All staff in Australia’s tertiary institutions, whether public or private, should be entitled to collective representation through union-negotiated enterprise agreements.
The interests of staff in Australian tertiary education institutions are best served through the negotiation of single-interest or multi-employer enterprise agreements, as this provides upward pressure on poorer conditions and salaries.
Enterprise agreements should facilitate workplaces free from discrimination on any grounds including sex, race, LGBTI or queer-identifying status or (dis)ability.
NTEU will: 2.8
Seek enterprise agreements so that every NTEU member is covered.
Prioritise the negotiation of multi-employer and â€œsingle-businessâ€? bargaining where possible to ensure institution-associated companies, and like institutions (e.g. TAFE), are covered by a single enterprise agreement, even where conditions remain inconsistent.
Work to improve wages and conditions through enterprise bargaining, and use bargaining as an opportunity to improve Union strength.
Work to ensure the good provisions that we have achieved in enterprise bargaining are actively implemented at every Branch, and afterwards evaluate their effectiveness.
Work to ensure NTEU enterprise agreements use inclusive and appropriate language reflecting the rights of minorities.
Maintain a data base containing and evaluating the wording of key clauses in collective agreements finalised by the NTEU for the purpose of continuous improvement.
Work to ensure gender balance on all NTEU bargaining teams.
INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE IN ENTERPRISE AGREEMENTS 2.15
NTEU Branches audit their Enterprise Agreements for binary language. If any find binary language used in their Agreements, they work towards removing all binary language in the current or next bargaining round.
APPROVAL OF ENTERPRISE AGREEMENTS National Executive shall not approve an enterprise agreement that entails a diminution of existing conditions unless: 2.16
The diminution of conditions of employment is part of a trade-off resulting in improved conditions overall, and;
Prior consultation has occurred with the National Office, and;
As part of overall bargaining strategy Branches will be encouraged to organise Protected Action Ballots, and to take industrial action.
In considering the approval of agreements which involve approved trade-offs, National Executive will have regard to whether or not a Branch has engaged in industrial action noting that this is a realistic aspiration for most Branches.
SECURITY OF EMPLOYMENT NTEU notes: 3.1
Job security provides employees with greater capacity to organise their work/life balance and plan their futures, and in the tertiary education sector promotes educational quality, academic freedom, and integrity in research and institutional administration. It allows employees to develop their full participation in the life of their institution.
Over the past ten years, insecure employment has grown to be the norm rather than the exception in tertiary education institutions.
Fixed-term contract employment has grown significantly during the same period, rising rapidly before the making of the Higher Education Contract of Employment Award (HECE) in 1998 followed then by a sharp decline in the wake of that Award, a large increase under the effects of the Higher Education Workplace Relations Requirements (HEWRRs) from 2005 to 2010, and a stabilisation in light of the reregulation of fixed term employment in the fifth round of bargaining.
Over 50% of all university teaching is now performed by casual staff, and casuals comprise about 40% of the university workforce (on a full time equivalent basis). Ongoing permanent employment now comprises less than 45% of total university employment. This practice reflects a deliberate management policy to transfer risk in the employment relationship onto employees, and to create a fearful and compliant workforce.
The threats to job security are not limited to the excessive use of insecure employment types. Australian universities have been subject to wasteful and destructive rounds of so-called reviews, restructuring and redundancies on a scale that far exceeds any objective analysis of need and, in fact, provides a positive incentive for poor work performance.
Insecure employment carries with it many disadvantages apart from the insecurity itself: lesser access to all forms of paid leave, restrictions on accrual of long service leave, poorer levels of superannuation as well as limits on access to finance to support life goals.
NTEU believes: 3.7
A securely-employed workforce will provide better educational and research outcomes in tertiary education institutions.
All employees should be entitled to job security. Employment should generally be offered on a permanent basis unless the work is for a short-term or is ad-hoc in nature.
Long-term casual and contract employment is unjustified. Long-term casual and contract employees should be entitled to conversion to permanent employment.
NTEU will: 3.10
Work to reduce casualisation and contract employment. 27
Advocate and bargain for more secure forms of employment for casual and contract staff.
Press for employment growth in the tertiary sector to be comprised of secure, rather than insecure, employment.
Work to prevent sham redundancies.
Work to prevent the use of redundancy as a substitute for dealing with performance issues with a fair process based on evidence.
Seek to deter employers from utilising casual and contract employment by working to increase the cost of these types of engagement.
Work to ensure casual and contract staff are paid in full for all work performed.
Work to enforce the gains made in bargaining around conditions, pay and more secure forms of employment for casual and contract staff.
Provide for the representation of casual and contract activists, including research contract staff, in Branches, Divisional and National networks and other key decisionmaking forums of the Union.
Produce a twice-yearly national magazine for NTEU members in casual employment.
Work in partnership with relevant postgraduate associations in our efforts to improve job security and working conditions for casual employees.
Prioritise casual recruitment resources and campaigns at the Branch and Division level.
DISPUTES Strategic Litigation NTEU notes: 4.1
The work of the Union in pursuit of its objects can be classified into four broad categories: • • • •
Governance and compliance activity Pursuit of social justice Member representation Building union power and influence.
NTEU believes: 4.2
Although each type of work contributes to the strength of the Union, the pursuit of activities that build union power and influence have the maximum long term beneficial effects for the Union and its members. Building union power and influence also strengthens the Union’s ongoing work in defending and promoting quality tertiary education and the integrity and independence of our tertiary education institutions.
The pursuit of strategic litigation is an important mechanism for demonstration of union power, influence and relevance in the workplace.
NTEU will: 4.4
While pursuing NTEU’s social justice objectives as determined by Union policy, meeting our governance and compliance obligations, and our obligations to represent individual members in difficulty, prioritise work that will build union power and influence in the workplace, the sector and the community, including dedicating resources to the pursuit of strategic litigation opportunities as a central element of coordinated plans to build union power.
Legal Assistance NTEU notes: 4.5
NTEU has limited funds to spend on all its activities, including legal support for members.
NTEU believes: 4.6
Members should not generally be referred to lawyers on industrial matters (ie any dispute with their employer) as clients. Where legal advice is needed on an industrial matter, NTEU will be the client, not the individual member (except in relation to referral for standard Workers Compensation matters).
If a member seeks legal advice without a referral from NTEU, NTEU’s involvement in the case should cease.
If a barrister is needed, counsel should be directly briefed rather than solicitors engaged wherever possible.
Where Defence Fund sources are to fund a legal case, the matter must fulfil the requirements for expenditure from that fund.
NTEU will: 4.10
Ensure appropriate procedures are maintained to reflect proper allocation of funding to disputes where legal support is required, including: • • • •
Systems for authorisation and approval of expenses in accordance with Union policy; Consultation processes between the National Office and relevant Divisions and Branches prior to expenditure being incurred; Systems for smooth communication between NTEU and engaged lawyers; Processes for ensuring costs are kept to a minimum.
INDUSTRIAL DEFENCE FUND Aims of Industrial Defence Fund The aims of the Industrial Defence Fund shall be: 4.11
The provision of assistance to members who lose pay and face financial hardship as a consequence of involvement in NTEU endorsed industrial action or because of stand down or prosecution by employers.
The provision of legal assistance in relation to disputes and/or grievances which have broad implications for Award standards, for enterprise agreement standards, and/or for professional standards (including academic freedom), or which would otherwise have precedential significance.
The provision of assistance to Branches, Divisions or groups of members involved in NTEU-endorsed campaigns against non-union agreements and/or in favour of job security and the right to collective bargaining.
Funding Structure of Industrial Defence Fund The National Office will ensure that: 4.14
Expenditure statements of the Fund are provided to each meeting of the National Executive.
An annual income and expenditure statement of the Fund is provided annually to the National Council.
Authorisation and Control of Payments from the Fund 4.16
All payments from the Fund shall be made in accordance with the following guidelines and procedures:
Any proposed payment to individual members, Branches and/or Divisions must be authorised in advance by a decision of the National Executive or General Secretary.
Branches and/or Divisions shall give the General Secretary at least 3 days’ notice of proposed campaigns or industrial action which may attract hardship relief/sustentation payment from the Industrial Defence Fund, and must consult with the General Secretary prior to advising members of possible entitlements from the Fund. The National Executive or General Secretary will not approve any payments to Branches or Divisions who do not give such notice or did not consult with the General Secretary.
Any Branch, Division or member making request for payment of hardship pay must provide the National Executive or General Secretary with: a) a complete list of members for whom payment is requested together with a short account of the nature of the strike, stand down or other relevant circumstances leading to financial hardship for each of the members concerned and
b) satisfactory evidence that each of the persons for whom payment is requested was taking industrial action, was stood down or otherwise facing financial hardship. In no circumstances shall the National Executive or General Secretary authorise payment from the Fund for hardship pay unless the material required by placita (a) and (b) above have been provided. 4.17
The National Executive or General Secretary shall exercise their discretion and set a minimum hardship payment for each dispute or campaign in relation to those members who are likely to suffer financial hardship. The National Executive or General Secretary may further exercise their discretion to make additional payments to members who face acute financial hardship. For administrative convenience such payments may be structured over a period of time.
No payment for industrial action of two working days or less duration will be made provided that the General Secretary or National Executive may: â€˘ exercise their discretion to make payment in respect of five or more nonconsecutive working days as part of a planned campaign; and â€˘ may authorise payment for members who are low paid, including those employed on a casual basis, in respect of industrial action of less than two consecutive days and 5 non-consecutive working days where the member will suffer a loss of 20% or more of their weekly pay as a result of taking the action.
The only payments which may be made from the Fund are payments which are consistent with the aims of the Fund as set out above, or payments which are necessary for the effective maintenance and administration of the Fund. Payments may only be made if they have been authorised in accordance with the procedures set out above.
MEMBER TO MEMBER DISPUTES NTEU notes: 4.20 Whilst most member disputes are directly with their employer, from time to time, issues of dispute arise between members. This situation should be distinguished from formal disputes lodged with the employer regarding the terms of the collective agreement or the National Employment Standards. 4.21
In many cases member to member industrial disputes can be characterised as disputes between a member and another member acting in their management capacity.
NTEU believes: 4.22
All members should have the right to representation from their union in direct or indirect industrial disputes with their employer.
In the case of a member to member industrial dispute where the dispute arises as a result of one member acting in their management capacity, the dispute should be dealt with as a member dispute with their employer. The member acting in their management capacity should be referred to the employer for assistance.
In the case of a member in an industrial dispute involving another member where their interests contradict each other, where the other member does not have a management role, both members should have access to union representation.
The resolution of issues or disputes between members that relate to their employment is the responsibility of the employer. The Union provides assistance to members but does not take responsibility for the resolution of the issue.
Where the interests of two or more members are in conflict and a dispute or grievance process is underway, confidentiality should be maintained between staff members dealing with each side of the dispute.
NTEU will: 4.27
Ensure appropriate procedures are established and maintained to ensure the above.
Whilst complying with the above principles, not support or condone the behaviour of any member properly found guilty of serious misconduct.
PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL AND DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES NTEU notes: 5.1
The increasing use of intrusive and inappropriate performance management schemes applied to members, with little or no basis in evidence that such systems improve employee or organisational performance. Such schemes, often developed at considerable expense, are often acknowledged, even by those in management, to be necessary or useful only to the extent that they satisfy real or perceived external accountability requirements.
The systematic replacement of a culture of peer review and formative appraisal and mentoring undertaken by those who are in a real position to know, with managementcentred performance management concentrating on metrics and performance indicators whose main or only value is that they can be measured.
The complete absence of redress for employees engaged on a fixed-term or casual basis for unjustified, arbitrary or capricious termination at the end of engagement based on performance or conduct.
The significant increase in the use of disciplinary procedures â€“ particularly misconduct â€“ over the past two decades.
The gradual erosion of the protections for employees in disciplinary procedures at universities, and that the harsh and capricious use of management discretion about penalties under discipline procedures is increasing.
The use of employer Codes of Conduct to deem relatively trivial infractions as misconduct or serious misconduct.
The steady weakening of the unfair dismissal jurisdiction in the Fair Work Commission.
Regular performance appraisal discussions can be useful to improve employee development, identify training or education needs and identify weaknesses in performance with a view to remedying these. While such arrangements occur often in the sector, they happen despite of, rather than because of, imposed “performance management” schemes. There is no clear evidence that management imposed performance management schemes do more good than harm.
Genuine performance appraisal (formative appraisal) should involve mentors and colleagues collegially as well as line managers, and should be separated in time and form from proceedings or discussions based on concerns that performance or conduct are unsatisfactory (summative appraisal). These in turn should be separated from discussion about work allocation.
The appraisal or assessment of performance should be based upon objective consideration of work requirements and objective but pluralistic tolerance of difference of styles and attitudes of employees. While improper, inappropriate or grossly intolerant behaviour which affects the work of an employee or their colleagues need to be dealt with, the identification, general grading or assessment of “behaviour” and “attitudes” represents a gross violation of individual personality and dignity, and a form of pernicious management intimidation, which distracts from real issues which affect performance of staff, such as poor technology, lack of training, or understaffing.
Student evaluations of teaching should not be used in any performance appraisal process.
No staff member should be terminated for reasons of performance or conduct, except after due process and proper findings based on evidence.
For academic staff, protection from arbitrary dismissal is a foundation of academic freedom. As the UNESCO Recommendation on the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel states, “Tenure or its functional equivalent, where applicable, constitutes one of the major procedural safeguards of Academic Freedom and against arbitrary decisions.” Therefore the disciplinary procedures embodied in NTEU enterprise agreements are a critical enforceable procedural protection for academic freedom.
Non-renewal of fixed-term contract or regular casual employment based upon misconduct or unsatisfactory performance should be subject to the same or similar procedural requirements as are applicable to comparable continuing employees.
Due process in disciplinary matters includes at least the following: • • • •
In the case of performance issues or most conduct issues, counselling and the opportunity to remedy any concerns over a reasonable period of time, having regard to the issues raised, without the requirement for formal action. The right to union representation at any time. In the case of formal action, clear specification of the allegations against the employee in writing with the opportunity to respond in a reasonable time. Matters of fact, and whether these constitute misconduct, serious misconduct or unsatisfactory performance, where these are in dispute, to be determined by a committee of peers agreed between the union and management.
Proceedings at disciplinary committees should provide for sufficient notice of any hearing, hearings in private except by agreement, the right to present and test evidence by interviewing witnesses, the full presentation of any materials to the employee, and the recording of proceedings. Recommendations as to be penalty should also be made by disciplinary committees where an adverse finding is made, and decisions as to penalties should not be disproportionate, or fail to have proper regard to the recommendation of disciplinary committees. Penalties should be limited to a specified list, including termination only for serious misconduct or failure to remedy unsatisfactory performance, demotion or withholding of an increment, censure or reprimand. Proper and adequate notice of termination except in cases of serious misconduct.
It follows from the establishment of proper disciplinary procedures that summary dismissal should not occur, but that the relevant procedures should be followed instead. NTEU accepts that a corollary of this is that employees may be suspended from duty in circumstances which, on reasonable grounds, the employer might consider warranted summary dismissal. In rare circumstances, and subject to the supervision of a disciplinary committee, such suspension may be without pay, but only up to a maximum of 28 days, subject to repayment of salary where termination is not the ultimate result. Where suspension occurs, extra effort must be made to ensure that proceedings are completed expeditiously.
NTEU accepts that particular circumstances may apply where the employee is subject to disciplinary procedures for alleged serious research misconduct. In particular, the composition of disciplinary committees may need to be adjusted to ensure that it includes agreed expert members, and in the case of adverse findings against an employee, the research record may need to be publicly corrected and public statements may need to be made to clearly exonerate innocent colleagues.
Codes of Conduct adopted by employers should not be incorporated into performance standards in enterprise agreements.
NTEU will: 5.19
Press the case in relevant public policy debates as to why freedom from arbitrary dismissal is essential to the maintenance of academic freedom.
Seek enterprise agreements consistent with this policy.
Actively critique systems for staff performance management in tertiary education, including by monitoring and disseminating the outcomes of Australian and international research on these systems.
Continue to assist members facing disciplinary action as a core part of the Union’s business.
Actively pursue breaches of agreements involving significant matters of principle surrounding performance and discipline.
CODES OF CONDUCT NTEU notes:
Universities have established Codes of Conduct, setting out behavioural expectations for employees, as a method of further exerting managerial control. Most of these Codes of Conduct broadly require that employees "act with respect towards others" and "do not bring the University into disrepute". These Codes of Conduct are pernicious in two ways: they are usually incorporated by reference into employment contracts, meaning staff are individually legally bound by them; and they are often referred to in Agreements in the context of serious misconduct (Code of Conduct breaches will be taken to be misconduct or, in some cases, serious misconduct). Changes in Human Resources culture mean that an expectation of compliant behaviour and employee obedience is unashamedly advanced as sufficient justification for disciplining staff who robustly express their views about unpopular subjects, whether work-related or not, or who engage in public civil disobedience.
NTEU believes: 6.4
Excessive and unreasonable managerial control over attitudes and behaviour in the workplace should be strongly resisted.
Management power to intrude into staff lives outside the workplace should be strictly limited.
There should be no restriction on staff making public comment on any matter where they make it clear that they are not expressing the views of their institution.
Institutional Codes of Conduct should be developed in consultation with staff, and should go no further than a statement of principles providing a guide to standards of professional and ethical behaviour.
NTEU will: 6.8
Campaign against university Codes of Conduct which seek to expand the power for managements to intrude into staff lives outside the workplace, unreasonably control attitudes and behaviour, or limit intellectual freedom.
Resist reference to university Codes of Conduct in Enterprise Agreements in the context of disciplinary proceedings.
ILL-HEALTH TERMINATION NTEU notes: 6.10
Termination of employment because the employee is sick is discrimination prohibited by the Fair Work Act and Commonwealth and State anti-discrimination legislation.
However, in some circumstances, ill health can be or become a permanent incapacity to perform work.
NTEU believes: 6.12
Termination of employment for ill health should only be permitted where an employeeâ€™s ill-health has led to a permanent incapacity to perform work. 35
Where an employer proposes to terminate the employment of an employee on these grounds, it should only be able to do so upon receipt of medical advice confirming the employee’s permanent incapacity. In making this assessment the same criteria should be applied as would be applied by the employee’s superannuation fund in the same circumstances, so as to ensure no employee’s employment is terminated without access to disability benefits under their superannuation scheme.
Employees who dispute any such medical assessment of their incapacity should be entitled to review of the decision to terminate their employment, by an independent medical practitioner review panel.
Employers citing frustration of contract in circumstances where an employee has persistent ill health is an improper application of the law and should be resisted.
Employees with persistent ill health should not be required to undergo medical examinations by their employer in circumstances where they intend to retire on grounds of ill health or apply for temporary disability benefits via their superannuation fund.
NTEU will: 6.17
Work towards incorporation of the above principles in tertiary sector collective agreements.
METRICS NTEU notes: 6.18
The increasing reliance on metrics to measure the performance of work in the University is an increasing imposition of control by employers over employees. This new method of control over employees extends deeply into their lives across a variety of their duties.
This method of control reduces the variety, quality and enjoyment of work in the University.
NTEU believes: 6.20
The use of metrics by employers to monitor work in the University sector should be resisted, even when conducted on a voluntary basis.
NTEU will: 6.21
Work to regulate and ultimately eliminate the use of metrics by employers.
Conduct research into the use and regulation of use of metrics by employers, attending particularly to the use of metrics in individual performance appraisal, effectiveness of metrics and their impact on the quality of working life. PAID LEAVE ENTITLEMENTS Annual Leave
NTEU notes: 7.1 7.2
Australian annual leave, at 20 days per annum, is not particularly high by comparison with many other advanced industrial nations, and has not been increased since 1974. A large proportion of employees in Australia, including about one-third of employees in tertiary education, have no access to paid annual leave.
Increasingly employees in academic and more senior positions have greater demands placed upon them during periods of annual leave. Although the previous practice of deeming academic leave to have been taken has formally disappeared, some academic employees report having to use annual leave to undertake necessary work such as writing grant applications or meeting research output requirements. Moreover, reports continue of grant-funded research staff being told at the end of a contract that they are held to have taken their annual leave, because of a general contractual requirement to take leave during the course of their contract.
Many employees are unable to take annual leave due to workload pressures, but are then blamed for having excessive accruals.
NTEU believes: 7.5
Annual leave is necessary to the well-being of employees and is not fairly characterised simply as an employee benefit. Annual leave reflects the fact that most employees work to live, rather than live to work. While the justification of annual leave rests on the opportunity for employees to have recreation and relaxation, the Union also notes that generous annual leave assists in increasing the productivity of labour.
Employees should take annual leave within a reasonable time of its accrual but should be able to accrue up to two years for a special purpose notified in advance. As far as is practicable, employee preference should be the primary consideration in determining the time of taking of annual leave. In particular, academic staff should not be limited to taking annual leave only in non-teaching periods, given the variability of workload and working hours over a year.
“Cashing out” of annual leave should not be permitted except upon termination of employment: employees should be entitled to take their leave rather than to payment in lieu of leave.
Given the steep decline in labour’s share of GDP in recent decades, a general increase in annual leave to a minimum of 5 weeks should be introduced as an award standard as a part of the recovery of labour’s share, without any salary trade-off.
In tertiary education, annual leave should be extended to all regular employees, including so-called “casual” staff employed on a regular or ongoing basis.
Effective measures must be taken to ensure that employees in tertiary education do not perform required work during their annual leave, and that where an employee performs required duties during a period of annual leave that period ceases to be annual leave.
Seek to tighten provisions to ensure employers do not exploit excessive workloads by permitting, or turning a blind eye to, required work being performed during periods of annual leave.
Support any cases brought by the ACTU to improve the award safety net provision for annual leave to a minimum of five weeks, and to extend annual leave to regular casual employees.
Take appropriate enforcement action to ensure that existing entitlements are actually being applied in practice by employers.
Personal Leave NTEU notes: 7.14
The long-standing principle embodied in Awards for nearly a century that employees should be protected from loss of income due to illness and contingencies of ordinary life.
NTEU believes: 7.15
This principle needs to be reconsidered in light of changes in family arrangements which have occurred over the past half century, the huge rise in productivity of labour, not being reflected in living standards, and in light of greater knowledge of the range of factors which can require legitimate absence from work.
Sick, personal and carerâ€™s leave should be adequate to cope with the ordinary contingencies of life without loss of income. This should be set at a minimum of 15 days leave annually.
Given the change in international family relationships, limitations on the use of compassionate and bereavement leave to circumstances arising within Australia should be removed.
Leave arrangements must adequately take account of the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees in relation to community and ceremonial obligations, and provide flexibility for religious groups where their most significant days are not covered by existing public holidays.
Leave arrangements must adequately cover community obligations and service such as jury service and emergency services work.
Leave for employees dealing with domestic violence and its consequences should be available as a discrete form of paid leave without limit, to ensure that employees facing domestic violence are not forced into resignation or loss of income at a time of crisis.
â€œCashing outâ€? of personal leave should not be permitted: employees should be entitled to take personal leave rather than to payment in lieu of leave.
NTEU will: 7.22
Work for the implementation of this policy over time, and in particular the extension and improvement of domestic violence leave across the sector in line with this policy. 38
Oppose all reductions in existing leave entitlements.
Long Service Leave NTEU notes: 7.24
Access to long service leave in tertiary education has been significantly undermined by the increased resort of employers to casual and fixed-term employment arrangements which are not only less secure for employees and therefore likely to be terminated by the employer before the employee qualifies for long service leave, but also reduce incentives for employees to remain with the employer for sufficient time to qualify.
Despite many years of service, many employees in insecure employment types (casual and fixed term) do not qualify for long service leave because of breaks in service caused entirely for the convenience of the employer, or due to periods of nonemployment for family reasons which for continuing employees would be parental leave.
Even for continuing employees, job insecurity means some employees lose their employment before qualifying for long service leave and others leave due to uncertainty.
Many employees are unaware of their entitlements to long service leave due to the complexity of the National Employment Standards (NES) and of some agreement clauses, along with the absence of reliable information from the employer.
As a consequence of the factors set out above, many employees work for decades in the tertiary education sector without qualifying for long service leave.
NTEU believes: 7.29
Whereas long service leave at its inception was based in part on the principle of rewarding loyal service to a particular employer, the lack of job security now extended by employers to employees means that the basis of long service leave must change. There should therefore be a national portable long service leave scheme for the whole workforce, based upon 3 monthsâ€™ leave being available after 10 years in the workforce, and based upon employer contributions into a fund, along the lines of existing building industry long service leave schemes.
Pending the establishment of a national portable long service leave scheme, there should be a tertiary education industry scheme providing for recognition of prior service (and concurrent service with other employers) for long service leave within the whole tertiary education industry, with any breaks in service up to 12 months, and any breaks in service caused by the unavailability of work with an employer up to two years, not breaking continuity of service, and all service (including casual service) counting for accrual. This would greatly assist employees in casual employment whose employment spans a number of employers, or where breaks in service occur for contract research staff due to discontinuity in grant income.
â€œCashing outâ€? of long service leave should not be permitted except upon termination of employment: employees should be entitled to take their leave rather than to payment in lieu of leave.
Long service leave should be taken within a reasonable time of being accrued, rather than forming a de facto additional retirement benefit, but employees should upon reasonable notice be able to take long service leave at a time of their choosing, and staff should not feel unable to take leave due to staff shortages.
NTEU will: 7.33
Actively support any moves by the ACTU for a portable long service leave scheme.
Work towards inter-employer recognition and continuity schemes, especially for contract research staff.
Ensure that existing entitlements to long service leave for contract and casual staff are aggressively enforced where they appear not to be properly applied.
At Branch level, work to ensure that all members are made aware of long service leave entitlements.
Parental Leave NTEU notes: 7.37
Parental leave is provided to allow employees adequate time away from the workplace to properly care for their children when they are born or placed in a new family.
12 weeks paid maternity leave has long been an Award entitlement in the tertiary sector, and was transferred to Agreements in early enterprise bargaining.
NTEU’s campaigning for further paid parental leave in the tertiary sector began with the implementation of paid maternity and adoption leave of 14 weeks on full pay plus 38 weeks at 60% pay at the Australian Catholic University in 2000.
Through bargaining NTEU has achieved a minimum of 26 weeks paid maternity leave at all higher education institutions.
In 2011 Australia’s first National Paid Parental Leave Scheme was introduced, providing a social security payment of 18 weeks’ pay at the national minimum wage to eligible working parents.
In 2013 Dad and Partner pay was also introduced by the Australian Government, giving new dads and partners two weeks’ paid leave at the national minimum wage.
NTEU believes: 7.43
Paid parental leave should be a workplace entitlement like all other forms of leave, and as such should be funded by the employer.
Paid parental leave should be at full income replacement level, with associated accrual of leave entitlements and superannuation payable, as with all other forms of paid leave.
14 weeks of any paid parental leave entitlement should be designated for the parent who is the birth mother, with the remaining component able to be shared between parents.
Employees who are primary carers of newborn children born as a result of surrogacy, or of children adopted or placed in a permanent carer arrangement who are under 8 years of age, should be entitled to share the full paid leave entitlement between parents.
Where a newborn child dies before one year of life, paid parental leave entitlements should remain unchanged.
Where pregnancy ends in still birth or miscarriage during the perinatal period (from the 22nd week of pregnancy), the employee should be entitled to 14 weeks’ paid leave, and their partner to 15 days’ paid partner leave.
Birth mothers of newborn babies who are surrogates or who are giving their baby up for adoption should be entitled to 14 weeks’ paid leave.
Partners of primary carers of newborn children, or of children adopted or placed in a permanent carer arrangement who are under 8 years of age, should be entitled to a minimum of 15 days’ paid partner leave.
Parents embarking on parental leave should be guaranteed return to their substantive position or equivalent held prior to the commencement of leave, and have a right to return to work on a part-time basis.
Flexibility should be provided around access to parental leave, including access to parental leave at half pay.
Prior service at other higher education institutions should count in any calculation of eligibility for parental leave.
Parental leave should be centrally funded by the institution.
NTEU will: 7.55
Work towards securing Australia’s ratification of International Labor Organisation Maternity Protection Convention C183.
Work to incorporate a minimum paid parental leave standard of 26 weeks at full wages in the National Employment Standards (effectively an employer-funded top-up to the current payment from government).
Press for 14 weeks of this parental leave entitlement to be designated for the parent who is the birth mother, with the remaining component able to be shared between parents.
Work to ensure employers in the tertiary sector maintain and build upon current parental leave entitlements in line with NTEU policy in addition to any governmentfunded entitlement.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND THE WORKPLACE NTEU notes: 7.59
Domestic violence is a major threat to the lives, health and safety of many Australians, and that many Australians die as a result of domestic violence.
Australian research which shows that there is significant level of domestic violence which affects employees (overwhelmingly women) in Australian workplaces.
The extent to which some employees are forced by circumstances to leave or be otherwise disadvantaged in their employment as a direct or indirect result of the consequences of domestic violence, and the consequent economic consequences of that loss of employment.
The achievements of the NTEU and other unions in obtaining entitlements to leave and other benefits to support employees in the workplace when affected by domestic violence, and the acknowledged benefits to employees and employers of the establishment of these entitlements.
NTEU believes: 7.63
Governments have the primary responsibility to protect people from domestic violence, and to promote freedom from violence for all. However, all sectors of society, including employers and unions, also have a responsibility to reject violence in their areas of influence, and to support those dealing with the consequences of domestic violence.
No employee should be forced directly or by circumstances to leave their employment, nor be disadvantaged in their employment because of experiencing domestic violence or its effects.
Employees dealing with domestic violence should have access to sufficient paid leave to deal with matters arising from domestic violence, including but not limited to: • • • • •
Seeking safe housing. Attending medical/counselling appointments. Attending court hearings and accessing legal advice. Organising alternate care or education arrangements for children. Rebuilding support networks with children, family or others.
NTEU will: 7.66
Work to extend and improve both Award and Agreement protections for members dealing with the domestic violence in accordance with this policy.
Where practicable, assist members dealing with domestic violence to ensure, irrespective of legal entitlements, that employers provide appropriate confidential support.
Include content to improve understanding of this policy and its implementation in training programs for members and staff.
Support joint campaign or lobbying activities about domestic violence, where possible in cooperation with other unions, student unions and community organisations.
ACADEMIC SPECIAL STUDIES LEAVE NTEU notes: 7.70
Academic Special Studies Leave is intended to encompass activity related to research, teaching and scholarship, but exclude work for which payment is received.
Access to paid, self-directed, extended periods of study is essential to maintaining the quality of higher education teaching and research. NTEU believes: 7.71
Academic Special Studies Leave should be self-directed, and should not comprise specific tasks commissioned or otherwise directed by the employer.
Academic staff undertaking Special Studies Leave should be paid their full salaries, and released from other duties for the duration of their leave, with adequate backfill arrangements.
All academic staff should be entitled to Special Studies Leave in order to develop their careers. Academic staff employed on a part-time basis should have access to paid Special Studies Leave on a pro-rata basis.
Prior academic service should be recognised for the purpose of determining eligibility for Special Studies Leave.
Accountability for activities undertaken during periods of Academic Special Studies Leave should be kept separate from performance appraisal processes.
NTEU should be represented on committees dealing with the operation of Academic Special Studies Leave.
No academic staff member should be required to undertake additional workload as a consequence of accessing Academic Special Studies Leave.
NTEU will: 7.78
Work to secure the availability of Special Studies Leave in accordance with the above to all academic employees.
WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY NTEU notes: 8.1
Health and safety risks exist in all workplaces. In the tertiary sector there are prevalent health risks associated with workplace stress, overwork and workplace bullying.
States and Territories have corresponding Work Health and Safety legislation mandating safe workplaces and providing for the election of Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs).
Traditionally these HSR positions and positions on Work Health and Safety Committees were Union roles, but now non-union representation is growing.
NTEU believes: 8.4 8.5 8.6
Every employee has a right to a healthy and safe work environment, so that everyone can go to work and come home safely. Employees injured at work should not suffer additional disadvantage. HSRs and representatives on Work Health and Safety Committees in the tertiary sector should, where possible, be NTEU representatives.
NTEU will: 8.7
Take steps to regularly and consistently fill vacancies for staff-elected or unionnominated positions on institutionsâ€™ Work Health and Safety Committee with NTEU nominees.
Provide for regular feedback from NTEU nominees on Work Health and Safety Committees to Branch Committees.
Provide Work Health and Safety training for NTEU staff and officers.
Take out accident make up pay and/or journeys insurance for members not currently covered, or insufficiently covered, by State legislation or their Enterprise Agreement.
Establish a standing Work Health and Safety Working Party to develop and maintain comprehensive WHS strategies and training plans in conjunction with Divisions.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT NTEU notes: 8.12
Sexual harassment can be defined as unwelcome sexual behaviour, which could be expected to make a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. It includes sexist harassment and harassment based on sexual preference.
Sexual harassment can involve one or more incidents. Actions constituting harassment may be physical, verbal or non-verbal.
Sexual harassment is illegal. Sexual harassment in the workplace constitutes discrimination in employment.
While most victims of sexual harassment are women, anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment, regardless of their sex and of the sex of the harasser.
Sexual harassment is a manifestation of power relationships and most often occurs within unequal relationships in the workplace. Factors which contribute to unequal power relationships include insecure employment, the gender pay gap and entrenched workplace cultures.
Sexual harassment may occur between staff and students and members of the public.
NTEU believes: 8.18
Sexual harassment is unacceptable.
All employees have the right to work in an environment free from sexual harassment.
Employers have a clear responsibility for the prevention and elimination of unfair discrimination in the workplace, including sexual harassment.
All students have the right to learn in an environment free from sexual harassment.
Tertiary institutions should develop and maintain policies, strategies and procedures to address sexual harassment, sex discrimination and sexual assaults on campuses.
The structurally imbalanced power relationship between academic members of staff and their students means that they are particularly vulnerable to accusations of sexual harassment if they engage in sexual relationships with students. Members of academic staff should take suitable measures to remove themselves from supervisory or assessment roles involving students with whom they have or have had a sexual relationship.
NTEU will: 8.24
Work with ACTU and other unions to combat the problem of sexual harassment.
Work to ensure employers develop and maintain adequate, fair processes for dealing with instances of sexual harassment, including by inclusion in industrial instruments.
Continue involvement in research, education and training on the issue of sexual harassment, sexist harassment, sexual discrimination, gender-based violence, sexual assault and harassment on the basis of sexual preference.
Where possible, monitor the incidence of sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, gender-based violence and sexual assault in employment in Australian tertiary institutions.
Pursue the furtherance of this policy at all levels, both within the union movement and with government.
WORKPLACE BULLYING NTEU notes: 8.29
Workplace bullying is behaviour aimed to demean, humiliate or intimidate employees either as individuals or as a group, and may involve: • • •
The less favourable treatment of a person by another in the workplace, beyond that which may be considered reasonable and appropriate workplace practice. Unwelcome and unreasonable behaviour that creates a hostile, uncomfortable, offensive or ‘charged’ work atmosphere leading to stress. Misuse of relative and / or assumed power. 46
Workplace bullying is not always a simple abuse of power from supervisors to employees. Employees or students can bully their supervisors, studentsâ€™ parents can bully employees, and workplace bullying can occur between members of an ostensibly equal group.
Workplace bullying adversely affects the health and well-being of employees.
Reported incidents of workplace bullying are on the rise in the tertiary sector.
NTEU believes: 8.33
Workplace bullying is a form of harassment in employment which is unacceptable in the workplace.
All employees have the right to work in an environment free from workplace bullying.
The employer is responsible for the prevention and elimination of bullying in the workplace, and must ensure and maintain a safe working environment for all employees.
As part of this, employers should develop appropriate policies and strategies to combat workplace bullying, including fair complaints procedures, and provision of information and training to all staff.
Institutional procedures for dealing with complaints of workplace bullying should abide by the principles of natural justice and provide for immediate response and resolution of complaints of workplace bullying without delay.
NTEU will: 8.38
Campaign for the elimination of workplace bullying as part of the Unionâ€™s overall strategy to achieve equal opportunity and fairness at work.
Initiate the development of fair policies and procedures to deal with workplace bullying at the institutional level where these do not exist.
Provide members with information and training on dealing with workplace bullying.
Monitor the incidence of workplace bullying in employment in the tertiary education industry.
Assist union members with workplace bulling complaints, and also assist members who are accused of workplace bullying in circumstances where the member is consequently subject to disciplinary action. SALARIES AND REMUNERATION NTEU notes: 9.1
The share of wages and salaries (labour share) has declined dramatically over recent decades, whilst labour markets have been deregulated. Many studies have shown that while labour productivity has greatly increased, the great majority of the benefit of this has been captured by the owners of businesses. 47
Despite this, the Union has succeeded in maintaining and even improving the relative position of most NTEU members in the labour market since the advent of enterprise bargaining. Moreover, the Union has broadly maintained the integrity of University pay structures which are nationally consistent and based on genuine work value. However, it should also be noted that there has been a significant increase in unregulated loadings and other payments over the past two decades.
The Union has had less success in protecting the relative position of its professional, administrative, clerical, computing and technical staff members in Victorian TAFE and Adult Education, where salaries are inadequate, reflecting the neglect and underfunding of these sectors.
The growth and of viability of most private providers in tertiary education has relied in part upon their establishing a regime of inferior pay for employees.
Reflecting the general rise in inequality, and the increasing use of inefficient corporate models within the sector, excessive salaries for the most senior executives in the sector are a scandal which indicate profound failures by, and lack of accountability of, governing councils of institutions.
NTEU believes: 9.6
As far as possible, a fair and efficient labour market in tertiary education should be built around the principle of taking wages out of competition, by ensuring that employers cannot seek competitive advantage by driving wages down, and are therefore required to concentrate on quality and productivity measures instead. Such an approach drives greater equality, fairness, quality and efficiency, and can be achieved by a strong and relevant pay safety net in combination with collective bargaining at a level to be determined by the industrial parties (as is required by ILO Conventions).
Salary structures should as far as possible reflect work value principles based on the requirements of the classification having regard to the skills required (including as reflected in education and training), the responsibilities attaching to the work, and any particular disability attaching to the work. The more that the fixing of remuneration moves away from such principles, the more it is likely to reflect gender biases.
NTEU recognises that the academic classification structure, and the general/professional staff classification structure above Level 9 (in universities) do not necessarily capture all aspects of work which may be worthy of additional remuneration. Moreover, in current labour markets, specific circumstances can apply where appropriately qualified employees cannot be recruited within consistent workvalue-based salary structures. In principle, to the extent that any arrangements allow for the payment of specific market loadings, or responsibility allowances or specific payments for extra work by academic staff not entitled to overtime, the use of such arrangements should be published, consistent and negotiated with the Union.
There is no evidence that merit-based loadings or performance pay improve overall organisational performance, at least in an education context. NTEU is opposed to these as they lead to competition between staff rather than productive collaboration, and in practice enable gender bias, nepotism, victimisation and sometimes corruption. NTEU distinguishes crude performance-bonus systems from the
recognition of merit through, for example, academic promotion or where the adoption of new work methods by general/professional staff leads to the reclassification of a position. 9.10
Further to this principle, language allowances for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff proficient in their traditional languages are to be supported noting they serve to inculcate maintenance and use of traditional language in teaching and learning, and recognise the increased effectiveness and productivity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff.
Salary levels should not be set on the basis of compensating for unreasonable or excessive hours.
Salary structures should support both an adequate minimum living wage and appropriate career structures and relativities based on work value. NTEU does not support the erosion of a minimum wage nor the erosion of relativities, as both allow the employer to appropriate a greater share of the product of labour. Increased inequality in recent decades does not arise from the maintenance of regulated skillbased relativities in industrial instruments. Therefore NTEU is generally opposed to flat-rate components in salary increases in awards and enterprise agreements.
NTEU will: 9.13
Continue to bargain to maintain the relative position of NTEU members in the labour market and to preserve relativities and the real value of members’ salaries, and to redress low salaries in TAFE and Adult Education wherever possible.
Enforce members’ existing legal rights to remuneration, whatever their source, including under their contracts of employment.
Oppose measures which undermine the objectivity, consistency or integrity of existing remuneration structures.
Advocate for the maintenance and, where appropriate, restoration of work value relativities in the minimum wage structure.
Oppose excessive remuneration for senior executives.
SUPERANNUATION NTEU notes: 9.18
Employees in higher education receive economy-leading levels of superannuation, with an employer contribution of 17% plus 7% employee contribution for all permanent staff.
Superannuation accounts for casual and fixed-term employees are less healthy, with many receiving only the Superannuation Guarantee employer contribution of 9.5%.
“Choice of funds”, introduced by the Howard conservative government, has increased industry superannuation funds’ marketing costs significantly, as they compete with private superannuation funds for members. This takes income out of the funds which would otherwise be reinvested for members’ benefit.
NTEU believes: 9.21
Healthy superannuation balances are required for employees to be able to have a decent standard of living when they stop working.
The level of employer contribution to casual and fixed-term employees’ superannuation accounts should be increased, especially given the growth in these types of employment across tertiary education.
Superannuation funds should be run in the interests of employee investors. Union representation on UniSuper’s consultative committees and union-appointed Trustee Directors are therefore of paramount importance.
Superannuation arrangements should not discriminate against employees on grounds of gender, sexual preference or identity.
The tertiary industry superannuation fund, UniSuper, should be given preference in collective agreements where possible to limit “choice of funds”.
NTEU will: 9.26
Work to secure increased employer contributions for all employees not receiving 17%.
Seek to enforce the superannuation provisions in Agreements and institutional Deeds of Covenant.
Campaign for removal of discriminatory terms from UniSuper Trust Deeds.
Ensure Branches and Divisions are advised of vacancies and elections to UniSuper consultative committee positions.
Work to ensure NTEU candidates stand for election to UniSuper consultative committees.
Notify members of Union-endorsed candidates for UniSuper consultative committees.
Coordinate a network of UniSuper consultative committee members.
Ensure any remuneration paid to union-nominated UniSuper Trustee Directors is directed to the Union.
UNION RIGHTS AND RESOURCES NTEU notes: 10.1
The attacks on Union rights which have occurred as a direct result of Commonwealth and State Government legislation and decisions over recent decades.
The undermining of de facto workplace rights as a result of increasing hostility of employers to organised labour.
The attacks on the rights of labour to organise have and are occurring on a global scale and are inextricably linked to rising inequality.
The ineffectiveness of existing codified rights (such as protection against victimisation of union members and activists) as a result both of obscurantism of court and tribunal decisions, and the absence of worker rights to respond industrially to infringements of union rights.
NTEU believes: 10.5
The right to effective collective representation of employees in their employment is an essential part of building a fairer and more just and democratic society.
Effective representation requires that unions have the capacity to communicate freely with their members, to hold meetings of their members in workplaces about workplace issues or union affairs, and to do so without surveillance or intimidation.
Authorised union officers and officials should have the right, subject to reasonable limitations, to enter premises without notice to hold discussions with employees or to investigate any breaches of the law, and should have the right to require the production of, and inspect documents in relation to suspected breaches of employees’ rights.
An effective and sufficient set of union rights should not be something for which unions need to bargain, as it is the necessary pre-requisite to effective bargaining. Therefore, a floor of union rights should be established in legislation, with access to effective and rapid dispute-settling procedures, and the capacity for the parties to bargain above that floor.
While the appropriate form of union rights and facilities may vary from workplace to workplace, it should include: • • • • • • •
The right of union members to have payroll deduction of union dues at no cost. The right of delegates to have reasonable time during working hours to attend to union business and representation of employees. Time release for senior union officers at the institutional level. The right to hold union meetings within the workplace, using videoconferencing facilities where available free of charge and without surveillance. The right to have reasonable access to the employer’s communication systems (email and internal mail and telephone) to communicate with members and employees without surveillance. The right of union representatives to attend representative union councils and committees. The right of union members to participate in union training courses.
10.10 Specific facilities and time should be provided to union negotiators and representatives to enable effective collective bargaining, including generous time release. 10.11 In addition to the rights attaching directly to employees, union security is also important. To this end the union should have the right, at each larger workplace, to an on-site office provided by the employer to assist in the effective representation of employees and resolution of disputes.
10.12 A fundamental weakness of collective bargaining in Australia is the prohibition on unions negotiating benefits which only apply to their members, while at the same time being unable to recover a contribution from all those who benefit from the unionâ€™s representation. Collective bargaining should provide for a mechanism to ensure that all employees make an adequate contribution to the cost of bargaining, subject to a majority vote of employees, either on a proposed agreement or on the question of whether all employees should contribute. 10.13 The protection of trade union rights should be a fundamental element of any trade negotiations undertaken by the Australian Government. NTEU endorses: 10.14 The ACTU Congress Policy on Organising Rights, Charter of Delegatesâ€™ Rights & Workplace Education Policy. 10.15 The Australian Institute of Employment Rights Australian Charter of Employment Rights. NTEU will: 10.16 Work through the ACTU and Education International to contribute to the promotion and protection of union rights internationally. 10.17 Promote this policy through the ACTU by lobbying political parties and where appropriate, by supporting trade union and community campaigns. 10.18 Seek to maximise the protection of union rights in collective agreements and through less formal arrangements with employers. 10.19 Act vigorously to defend by prosecution and by industrial means where necessary, the rights of union members and representatives. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY NTEU notes: 11.1
Climate change and how we achieve a sustainable future is one of the biggest challenges facing society. The future of work depends on our ability to limit climate change.
Universities are repositories of knowledge and scholarship on climate change and sustainability, as well as emitters of greenhouse gases and large consumers of fossil fuels.
NTEU believes: 11.3 Universities sustainability. 11.4
Staff and students have an important part to play in contributing their ideas and expertise to university sustainability initiatives.
Support collaborative and collegial sustainability initiatives in the tertiary education sector and within the Union itself.
Campaign for universities who have not done so to become signatories to the Talloires Declaration 1990.
Campaign for universities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and incorporate sustainability into every possible aspect of their operations.
SECTION 5: HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY AND RESEARCH NTEU HIGHER EDUCATION AND RESEARCH POLICY STATEMENT QUALITY PUBLIC TERTIARY EDUCATION Australia now has mass tertiary (vocational and higher education) education systems concentrated in public provision of higher education, but with increasingly contested provision in vocational educational and training where some state governments’ policies of deregulation and subsidisation have actively encouraged private sector competition. The fully contestable market model of funding vocational education and training (VET) first introduced into Victoria in 2008, has undermined public TAFE with many courses having been closed and thousands having lost their jobs. Fortunately, private for-profit competitors are at last starting to be called to account for the quality of courses, prices and care of students. The costs of vocational education have blown out with many courses now costing more than degree courses in universities, resulting in rapidly growing student debt, often with no recognised or useful resulting qualification. Some public universities have established private companies or entered into public–private partnerships in order to cash in on the lucrative trade in pre-degree courses and to try and avoid staff coverage by collective agreements. The Liberal National Party Coalition Government continues to pursue a policy framework which cuts the level of real per-student public investment in higher education as well as continuing to shifting the cost burden of a university education onto students and their families. Universities have responded to the withdrawal of public investment by adopting corporate structures and processes leading to: • Destructive competition between universities; • Lack of transparency and democracy in decision making; • Concerns about the quality of teaching and research; and • Ongoing attacks on the job security of staff coupled with massive increases in casual and fixed term employment. NTEU affirms that VET and higher education should be publicly available, accessible and funded as a core priority of government. Publicly subsidised places, commonly referred to as Commonwealth Supported Places or CSPs, in higher education, should only be available to public universities. CSPs should not be extended to private providers. They should only be considered for public TAFE once current market driven policies are amended in favour of increased public investment in TAFE. Students should not be accumulating debts through a FEE-HELP scheme extended to TAFE to compensate for reduced levels of public investment as has been the case in higher education. Current government regulatory mechanisms of for-profit companies operating in VET have demonstrably failed to protect education quality and students.
Access to government supported vocational and higher education should always be based on merit and no one should be excluded on the basis of their incapacity to pay. To ensure quality of public tertiary education, the NTEU will continue to: • • • • •
Campaign against government policy agendas of public funding cuts, deregulation and privatisation; Work with student organisations, trade unions, professional bodies and other allies on this campaign; Oppose any attempts to further shift the cost of education onto students; Continue to research and advocate for fair and sustainable funding and regulatory alternatives; and Support education international’s global campaign against the privatisation and commercialisation in and of education.
INTELLECTUAL AND ACADEMIC FREEDOM Intellectual and academic freedom are essential and defining characteristics of autonomous and publicly accountable modern universities. In the university context, intellectual freedom refers to the right of all staff and students to freely hold political and intellectual views and values and express them publicly, without fear of reprisal or retribution or restriction by university policies and procedures. Specifically, intellectual freedom includes the right, without fear of harassment, intimidation or unfair treatment, to: •
Express opinions about the operation of the university and higher education policy more generally;
Pursue critical open enquiry and to discuss freely, teach, assess, develop curricula, publish and, research within the limits of their professional qualifications, competence and professional standards;
Develop, interpret and administer policy and procedures within the limits of their professional qualifications, competence and professional standards;
Participate in public debates and express opinions about issues and ideas related to their discipline area or area of professional expertise;
Participate in professional and representative bodies and to engage in community service; and
Express unpopular or controversial views.
Intellectual freedom rights do not include any right to vilify, harass intimidate or otherwise act unlawfully nor are they intended to protect any person engaging in these forms of behaviour from the operation of the relevant laws.
Academic Freedom NTEU preferred terminology in describing the rights and responsibilities of members of the university community to freely engage in teaching and research without fear of reprisal is academic freedom. The term academic freedom also applies to the rights and responsibilities of universities with respect to promoting and maintaining their commitment to free inquiry, institutional independence and the autonomy of their academic governance. Academic freedom is not limited to academic staff. It represents a multifaceted set of principles, rights and obligations that apply to all members of a university community engaged in academic pursuits including teaching, research and community service. Academic freedom has international currency and consists of a series of rights and privileges which have been framed over a number of decades and articulated in a range of formal statements, including: •
The 1940 American Association of University Professors’ Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure;
The 1997 UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel;
The 1998 International Association of Universities Statement on Academic Freedom, University Autonomy and Social Responsibility; and
The 2005 Academic Freedom Statement of the first Global Colloquium of University Presidents.
While not encompassing the full range of rights and responsibilities of academic freedom, the protection and promotion of “free intellectual inquiry” is referred to in the objects of the Higher Education Support (2003) Act. The Act also requires Australian universities to have policies that uphold free intellectual inquiry in relation to learning, teaching and research. Importance of Academic Freedom Academic freedom is an essential and defining characteristic of the modern university. The creation, advancement and dissemination of knowledge can only occur within an environment that defends the rigorous free exchange of information and ideas and the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas without restriction or fear of reprisal. Academic freedom entails the rights of members of a university community, without administrative constraints or fear of retribution, to freely: • • • • •
Discuss, teach, assess, develop curricula, and engage in community service; Research and publish; Publish and speak in public debate constrained by a responsibility to reflect scholarly standards; Express opinions about the institutions in which they work or are enrolled; and Participate in decision-making structures and processes within the institution.
At the institutional level, commitment to academic freedom requires the university to:
Assert institutional autonomy, and in particular the right to determine for itself, on academic grounds, its research and teaching practices and priorities;
Protect academic integrity above the private or corporate interests of third parties. In receiving support from corporations or other private interests, higher education institutions must not compromise their autonomy and independence, or that of their staff; and
Support its staff and students in advancing knowledge, ideas, theories and technology, and in serving society at large.
Academic freedom does not include the right to engage in unlawful discrimination, vilification or harassment. Challenges to Intellectual and Academic Freedom NTEU notes the cumulative threats to academic freedom and free intellectual inquiry from both within and outside Australian universities. These include: •
Stricter performance management;
Institutional plans to strategically concentrate research strengths;
Institutional directions to staff to publish (or not publish) in specific journals;
A public policy climate adverse to public transparency particularly in relation to freedom of information, freedom of political speech on campuses, protection for whistle-blowers;
A public policy climate increasingly willing to make exceptions to academic freedom on grounds of national security interests; and
The propensity of universities to prioritise profitability, reputation and financial viability above core academic values, and to characterise as misconduct the exercise of academic freedom that may put those priorities at risk.
Governments also intervene in the exercise of academic freedom by: • Making funding contingent on achievement of the government policy objectives; • •
Ministerial interference in the allocation of research grants through bodies like Australian Research Council; Legislative changes that remove staff and students from structures of institutional governance.
There are additional pressures on academic freedom and academic integrity as result of universities’ increasing reliance on income from sources other than government funding. Funding arrangements between universities and external organisations, including commercial partners, can restrict the ability of university staff to speak freely and critically about controversial issues. These funding arrangements can also constrain criticism of university management or that of external partners in the fear it might harm future funding.
Principles for Universities NTEU believes universities must foster an atmosphere of academic freedom by establishing and enacting policies that: •
Are based on the principles of public accountability and probity;
Support and resource staff involvement in the broad spectrum of teaching, research and community service and explicitly acknowledge their right to exercise this autonomy without fear or favour;
Do not limit or constrain members of the university involvement in public debate and community service;
Respect the right of staff and students to comment publicly about matters concerning or affecting their institutions;
Provide or promote institutional and/or legislative whistle-blower protections;
Encourage collegiality and industrial democracy through consultation, shared responsibility and participatory decision-making;
Do not compromise the autonomy and independence of staff and students by agreeing to attempts by government or private interests to unreasonably influence or limit the nature of teaching and/or research undertaken by staff or students; and
Ensure that the lawful, genuine and judicious expression of an employee’s intellectual freedom is a complete defence to any allegation of misconduct.
NTEU Actions on Academic Freedom In order to promote these objectives, at an institutional level NTEU will:
Advocate for governance policies and practices that promote intellectual and academic freedom at all levels of higher education institutions;
Campaign for the codification of legally enforceable employment rights in relevant industrial agreements as the best form of protection of intellectual and academic freedom;
Pursue and defend intellectual and academic freedom as collective agreements negotiated with universities;
Promote and work to preserve the central role of academic boards/senates in academic governance and to protect the academic governance role from the encroachment of increasing executive power and decision-making;
Advocate for the protection and promotion of institutional autonomy and academic freedom for Australian universities and their staff through legislative measures and legislative enforcement, including a practical commitment to the principles outlined in the UNESCO statement on the rights and responsibilities of higher education teaching personnel; 58
key provisions in all
Through its membership of Education International and Scholars At Risk, advocate for broad international acceptance and adoption of the principles of academic and intellectual freedom and institutional independence and autonomy in all universities worldwide;
Lobby and campaign against further changes to the composition of university governing bodies that would reduce the representation and participation of staff, students, parliamentary representatives and alumni, and, where these have been reduced, for the restoration of previous levels of representation and participation; and
Provide support, training and advice on academic and intellectual freedom principles and issues to NTEU members, in particular those members who are engaged with university academic and corporate governance through membership of university governing councils/senates and academic boards.
In addition NTEU commits to promoting academic freedom on our university campuses by: •
Monitoring and documenting breaches of ‘freedom of intellectual inquiry’ policies, intellectual and/or academic freedom provisions in enterprise agreements, and/or institutional statements of academic freedom that sit outside enterprise agreements;
Monitoring and documenting restrictions upon staff or students’ exercise of academic freedom, whether through explicit policy, implicit pressure or implied threat;
Monitoring and analysing the implementation of the new wave of anti-terrorism legislation and expansion of ASIO powers or through the implementation of Defence Trade Controls legislation.
Supporting and protecting members who may disclose, in the public interest, information regarding serious wrongdoing within, by, or related to, an institution.
Noting the NTEU’s strong position on Academic and Intellectual Freedom, the weakness of the Higher Education Support Act provisions as they relate to intellectual freedom and the significant threats to academic and intellectual freedom arising from the 2016/17 round of collective bargaining, National Council directs that: 1. The Union seek legislative change to provide for the promotion and enforceable protection of academic freedom; and 2. Campaigning on academic and intellectual freedom be established as a high priority at all levels of the Union; and 3. The National Executive consider an Academic and Intellectual Freedom Award to be presented annually at National Council. On the broader national policy level, NTEU will:
Contest research performance measures and benchmarking requirements that distorts the kind of research that is undertaken and how it is disseminated;
Emphasise and protect the importance of ensuring the prominence of peer review;
Advocate against policies that unnecessarily constrain academic freedom through for example, policies that form part of Australia’s counter terrorism regime.
On the international stage NTEU will also continue to play an active role within Education International, Scholars at Risk (SAR) and other networks.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION NTEU notes that the various Freedom of Information (FOI) regimes in Australia provide a significant avenue for transparency and accountability in government, and on that basis the Union supports the retention of strong freedom of information legislation. NTEU also notes that the provision of information must be balanced with the rights of individuals to privacy and the impact that release of information may have on individuals and processes. In the Higher Education sector, recent developments in Western Australia illustrate that Freedom of Information regimes may fail to provide satisfactory protections against the release of evaluative material and reports provided to agencies on a confidential basis. The lack of access to appeal mechanisms at a lower level than the Supreme Court militates against individuals challenging such decisions. The release of sensitive embargoed theses and examiners identities and reports threatens to have a suppressive effect on research into critical areas of high political sensitivity.
FREEDOM OF COMMUNICATION NTEU notes: • •
• • • •
The attacks upon freedom of expression of university staff by management in recent years, evidenced by several high profile cases. These cases mostly involved the exercise of academic freedom in an academic’s area of expertise, or involved the exercise of intellectual freedom of staff expressing a point of view on a matter in public discourse; The expression of views has largely been via modern forms of communication, primarily social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. University staff have been pursued for their expressions on social media in order to preserve some tenuous view of their institution’s ‘reputation’. These instances occurred in an atmosphere of heightened intrusion into the communication of all workers, both at work, and in their private and social lives. Such intrusions range from the development of arbitrary and questionably enforceable ‘Codes of Conduct’ and instructions on University “behaviours”, to the direct monitoring of staff. The introduction of the APS “Making public comment on social media: A guide for employees” is a recent example of such intrusions also occurring for other public sector workers.
NTEU believes: • • •
Freedom of communication is an industrial issue for our members. Staff members have also been targeted by the media, politicians and other social commentators for their own political ends. The pursuit of staff in this way risks their job security, their reputation, academic freedom and career prospects.
The advent of social media has not changed the obligation of members of the workplace and the community to show courtesy, discretion and common sense, noting that the tools of communication do not of themselves require a draconian approach to freedom of expression. They must also not undermine long established concepts of academic and intellectual freedom, and the right to critical thinking and expression.
NTEU will: •
• • •
Continue to resist Codes of Conduct and/or guidelines which seek to impose unreasonable managerial control over workplace behaviour and personal expression, in line with the NTEU Policy “Codes of Conduct”; Encourage NTEU members to engage in discussions around the use of social media and, if appropriate, be involved in consultations over this issue with management; Reinforce to NTEU members their right to engage on civil matters as an expression of conscience; and Defend any attempts to co-opt comments from NTEU members into disciplinary proceedings.
In support of this policy, the NTEU will undertake the following actions to raise awareness of the importance of these issues and to support members who are disciplined, dismissed or vilified for public and private communications that are an expression of their conscience: •
Communicate to members, delegates, Branches, Divisions and governing bodies that freedom of conscience is an inherent part of academic and intellectual freedom and intrinsic to workers’ industrial rights. Contest any management attempts to introduce excessive Codes of Conduct or Guidelines around members’ use of social media and other forms of communication, via policy and enterprise bargaining. Resist attempts to delete or omit academic and intellectual freedom clauses from sector enterprise agreements. Show solidarity with all workers and their unions in their efforts to resist the intrusion into workers’ rights to freedom of communication at work, home and in the community. Support the CPSU in its fight against the Australian Public Service Commission's social media guidelines, which seek to prohibit any form of expression of conscience by public servants.
Staff employed by Australian universities are important creators of all types of intellectual property (IP) ranging from scholarly works to teaching materials, computer software, inventions, processes and creative works. The basic principle of IP law is that IP ownership, prima facie, belongs to creators. According to Australian legislation and common law however, the creators of IP are not necessarily the owners of that IP. Under s35(6) of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cwth) for example, any copyright IP created “in the pursuance of employment” is the property of the employer. A creator’s IP rights are however, not limited to questions of ownership. Creators of IP also have inalienable moral rights in relation to attribution and integrity.
A university’s capacity to create, advance and disseminate knowledge is underpinned by academic freedom. IP rights in a university therefore need to complement academic freedom and defend principles that enshrine the capacity for free intellectual inquiry without interference or penalty as well as protect academic integrity. The dichotomy between principles of academic freedom and IP rights of ownership rights however does arise in a university context especially when it comes to questions around the commercial exploitation of IP created by university staff. This tension was brought into sharp focus by the case of (UWA vs Gray) which concluded that a university does not automatically own IP in inventions created by its employees. The case also questioned whether the presumption that the IP created in pursuance of employment automatically belongs to the employer because universities are not commercial enterprises pursuing commercial purposes. As a consequence, the NTEU is of the view that many common law principles in relation to the IP rights of creators in different kinds of ‘works’ remain unsettled in universities. Some universities have sought to remove any ambiguity in relation to IP ownership through contractual, industrial or policy instruments that might modify and derogate staff IP rights. This might be achieved in various ways including through letters of employment that directly assign IP rights to the university or through reference to university IP policy which achieves the same end. University IP policy The underlining goals of a university’s IP policies should be: 1. To encourage an environment in which teaching, learning and research will flourish, and 2. To structure and outline the university’s obligations such as in the commercialisation of intellectual property created by staff and in limited instances by students. Therefore, universities have a responsibility to ensure that any policies or procedures in relation to intellectual property generated by staff and students are developed in full consultation with all sections of the institution's community, and with regard to the following principles:
IP created by an employee during the course of employment is a ‘permitted matter’ under the Fair Work Act that can and should ordinarily be the subject of regulation through the collective agreement.
NTEU opposes all instances where the university’s policies in relation to expectations around IP rights are modified by university policy without industrial deliberation and staff consultation.
The basic principle should remain that IP rights prima facie lie in the hands of creators, except when proprietary rights are varied by common law or the employment contract or agreement.
Intellectual property policies and industrial clauses should not impede the IP rights of staff as employees, particularly IP that is created outside ‘the pursuance of employment’, such as where it is not in the nature of employment, where it is not
directly related to their terms and conditions, and where it is not assigned through express arrangement. This is particularly relevant to general and professional staff where the terms and conditions of employment generally specify what IP they create is subject to the employment relationship. •
Intellectual property policies and terms of employment should ensure academic and research staff in principle retain: o o o o
Academic freedom and self-determination in relation to choice of research; Freedom to publish research results; Freedom to collaborate with researchers in other institutions; Capacity to solicit research funds from outside institutions.
The moral rights of creators are inalienable and NTEU opposes standardised contractual provisions, contracts or other policy instruments that attempt to assign or waiver the moral rights of staff.
NTEU is opposed to: Standardised provisions in letters of employment that directly assign IP rights to the university, or do so by reference to university IP policies; o The use of deeds and other legal instruments that directly assign IP rights to the university; o Standardised provisions that modify the contractual obligations of undergraduate and postgraduate students in relation to IP as non-employees. University IP policy should acknowledge that UWA vs Gray provided clarity about the academic ownership of inventions created in the course of research and that this should only be contractually modified on a case by case basis through negotiation with the affected staff. o
NTEU opposes the recording of lectures or other classes without prior permission.
NTEU opposes written permissions which authorise universities to use recorded materials in perpetuity, and asserts that the use of such recordings should be limited by the length of employment.
In support of these principles, the NTEU will: • Defend the IP rights (both moral and proprietary) of university staff where it detrimentally impacts upon the employment relationship, the free exchange of information and ideas, or upon protocols that shape academic integrity. •
Prepare and maintain up-to-date advice for members about the IP rights of university staff, including in relation to case law.
Collect and share information at all levels of the Union about institutional strategies and changes to the IP rights of university staff, particularly through changes in letters of employment, deeds, and other legal instruments. Strongly support the information commons as the foundation for academic knowledge; support the 'open access' movement in academic publishing, and oppose any requirement that academic staff publish in journals that restrict access behind a paywall.
EDUCATION AND TEACHING IN HIGHER EDUCATION Promoting Quality Teaching In Higher Education Globally, there are a growing number of initiatives aimed at improving quality of teaching. However the vast majority of these are empirical and address the institution’s needs at a given point in time. University managements conflate teaching quality assessment with top- down, performance management strategies that do not encourage staff -driven initiatives crucial in improving teaching quality. Quality enhancement initiatives inspired by or resulting from academic literature and research are rarely adopted or promoted in a systematic way at institutional level. Currently, the assessment of quality in teaching institutions emphasises the measurement and reporting of “indicators” as a proxy for teaching quality. However, employing input and outcome based metrics systems, setting minimum or threshold standards and surveying students on their teachers, are not in themselves the best tools by which the complex issue of teaching quality can be reviewed and improved. In addition, institutions fail to acknowledge that their spiralling use of casual and short term contract sessional staff to deliver teaching is antithetical to the development and implementation of any meaningful teaching quality initiatives. A broader and more sophisticated approach, which encompasses the principles of what constitutes quality in higher education teaching, is required. NTEU believes that for an institution to formulate a coherent quality in teaching policy, there are a number of issues that must be considered when assessing quality in teaching practices. Best practice calls for:
Institutional commitment to quality teaching, at the top leadership level and at departmental level.
Both management and teaching staff to identify benchmarks, promote good practices, and scale them up across departments, and think about effective support that meets both teacher and student expectations.
A policy approach that reflects the will of senior management and faculty heads to better understand the teaching process themselves, and the experiences of teams or individual teachers.
The institution to monitor, support and track not only student satisfaction but teacher satisfaction as well, and to study its impact on the learning process.
An institutional framework that allows for a high level of teacher autonomy and a collaborative relationship with students and staff conducive to improving the teaching and learning process.
While further training in the pedagogy of teaching (for example, a Graduate Certificate in Teaching) can improve the higher education experience for both students and teachers, individuals who are required to undertake such training should have a concomitant release from teaching in order to undertake their professional development.
Appropriate recognition of quality teaching, contribution to curriculum development and innovation, and scholarship of learning and teaching in 65
university employment provisions and systems, including promotion, probation and performance appraisal systems and criteria. Accurate assessments of teaching quality can only be achieved via multidimensional assessment which incorporate course evaluations, syllabi, examinations, peer collaboration and evaluations and workforce development, and include influencing factors, such as adequate resourcing, access to technology and facilities, professional development, improvements to student-staff ratios and secure employment. NTEU will continue to advocate and negotiate for a holistic approach to teaching quality, supported by academic literature and research, and oppose those factors that do not drive improvements to teaching quality, but act as proxies for the performance management of staff. The Teaching/Research Scholarship Nexus NTEU notes that academics have a responsibility to participate in scholarship, whether it be the scholarship of discovery (research); the scholarship of integration; the scholarship of application or the scholarship of teaching. NTEU believes that there are substantial benefits that arise from strengthening the linkages between teaching and research/scholarship, which include: •
Reassessing and redefining the roles of teachers and students in the development of a culture of ‘critical inquiry’ in higher education.
Retaining the status of Australian universities competitive and globalised higher education sector.
Recognising, valuing and rewarding scope and the diversity of academic work.
Improving the quality of both university teaching and research.
Raising the status of teaching and research in our universities.
Strengthening collegial ties within institutions and reducing the tension between disciplinary and institutional loyalties.
While all academics should have the opportunity to engage in research and have a responsibility to participate in scholarship, the relative contribution of individual staff to different forms of scholarship may vary significantly between individuals as well as throughout a career. Rather than considering research as the only acceptable form of scholarship a wider view of scholarship should be encouraged and rewarded both within and between disciplines. Where scholarship is considered as part of the criteria for progression it should be able to be demonstrated in its broader sense. Workload models should also acknowledge the importance of the linkages between scholarship and teaching, and: •
Specifically recognise the legitimacy of different forms of academic scholarship and the importance of their contribution to the university;
Facilitate, in consultation with and with the agreement of affected individual staff, variations in the relative importance of teaching and related scholarship and research;
Account for the time taken for early career academics to develop their research skills and for experienced academics to engage in mentoring; and
Provide a mechanism for a regular review of workload allocations.
The NTEU will continue to advocate for a broader view of scholarship to be included as criteria for promotion for academics in institutions where this is not already the case, and monitor how this is adhered to by institutions. Student Evaluation of Teaching & Performance Reviews NTEU notes that: •
All Australian universities have some form of Student Evaluation of Courses and Teaching;
The use of these for benchmarking is more common for course evaluations than teaching evaluations; and
The incentive for universities to use course and/or teaching evaluations as a proxy for individual performance indicators has been driven to a large extent by a managerialist approach to performance management.
It is appropriate for students to have an opportunity to indicate whether they are satisfied with their experience of learning, and for their institution to gather this information. In the right context, constructive feedback from students on their experience is a useful tool for an educator in reflecting on their practice and advancing their scholarship of teaching. However, student perception surveys evaluate students’ satisfaction with their learning experience, not their learning outcomes or the performance of the teacher. Furthermore, both student satisfaction and learning are not only influenced by teaching practices and curriculum: they also involve factors outside the teacher’s control, such as a range of contextual variables and students’ own motivation, ability and commitment to learning. Performance review processes intersect with student evaluation mechanisms, which are frequently used by management to disadvantage staff, isolate individuals and unreasonably influence industrial processes, up to and including dismissal. All of these factors impact negatively on serious innovation in teaching and curriculum, which can take a couple of iterations to find optimal form. The use of student evaluation as a “high - stakes” teaching performance indicator stifles innovation and development as teachers may perceive that such activity poses too great a risk to their evaluation “scores”. To guide Branches and Divisions during bargaining and consultation processes, NTEU proposes the following principles in relation to institutional use of Student Evaluation of Teaching surveys and Student Evaluation of Course surveys.
Surveys should use a properly validated instrument.
Survey results should not be used as a mechanism for the performance management of individual staff, nor should student evaluation be used to 67
initiate any action under unsatisfactory performance provisions of workplace agreements. •
Where a Head of School/Department/Supervisor forms a view that survey results are problematic they will be discussed with the staff member in order to identify external, structural and/or systemic factors that may have affected the result. Factors that must be considered include: the whole teaching and learning environment, staff workload, characteristics of the student cohort, the physical environment in which teaching takes place, the structure of the course, the availability of and access by students to learning resources, the method of delivery and the extent of professional development support. This discussion should be separate from performance review discussions.
An individual staff member’s results should not be made public, and should be made available only to a tightly limited group within the institution, accompanied by advice on interpretation and limitations of the data.
Students’ comments should be available only to the staff member concerned.
Where course results are circulated to a teaching team, student comments on individual teachers should be removed by the course convenor before circulation.
Staff members should be encouraged to collect and document other forms of evidence about teaching achievement, e.g. evidence of student learning, evidence of curriculum development or renovation, evidence from peer review and collaboration processes and other relevant professional indicators.
NTEU notes that the incidence of abusive responses by students to anonymous surveys, including racist and sexist comments, appears to be increasing. NTEU calls on institutions to monitor this trend and take action to protect staff, if necessary by reexamining the provision of opportunities for students to comment in surveys under conditions of anonymity. Teaching-only Roles NTEU notes the increased use of teaching-only positions within universities, and that the large proportion of staff engaged in these positions are casual employees. NTEU also notes that research indicates that a majority of current insecurely employed university staff are seeking more secure forms of employment. Many part-time staff are also seeking increased hours of employment. It also needs to be acknowledged by all in the higher education sector that the balance of an academic’s work between teaching, scholarship, research and community service will vary over an individual’s career. NTEU believes that the creation of teaching-only positions by universities is detrimental when it perpetuates insecure modes of employment and narrows the career path of academic staff.
NTEU will continue to apply available industrial and political remedies in order to halt the increasing use of insecure employment in our universities, including in teaching -only positions. NTEU will only continue to support career paths for teaching-only and teaching focused staff where they promote and recognise the value of teaching expertise and scholarship to the educational mission of our universities. NTEU will seek to ensure that career paths for teaching-only and teaching focused staff promote and recognise the value of teaching expertise and scholarship to the educational mission of our universities through the inclusion of: •
Options for conversion (or reversion) to integrated (“balanced”) teaching and research roles at agreed points, and provision of support for staff to take up such options;
Integration and recognition of scholarship, whether focused on scholarship of dissemination, integration, application or discovery, in accordance with staff members’ interests and preferences; and
Recognition in promotion criteria of teaching excellence and contribution to curriculum development, knowledge and professional development of colleagues in areas related to teaching and curriculum.
Online, Flexible and Multiple Modes of Teaching and the Impact on Higher Education NTEU notes that higher education providers are increasingly using modes of flexible learning and delivery as technology improves and in response to government initiatives that promote increased access and equity in a massified higher education system. Historically higher education learning and teaching practitioners have rapidly adapted new information and communications technology (ICT) into the content, delivery, assessment and administration of education on the basis of pedagogical value and reach to diverse student cohorts. However, the confluence of the massification of higher education with the ongoing decline in the proportion of direct government funding to public universities, as well as the ready acceptance by universities of the neo-liberal management model, currently drives too much of the approach to the use of ICT in university learning and teaching. In particular, the rapidly accelerating trend towards local and international on-line education provision, including in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), are having multiple impacts on universities, including upon curriculum and pedagogy, admissions, accreditation and labour arrangements. The Union believes that the well-funded hype and publicity surrounding MOOCs, impacts upon management discourse, policy and direction in the delivery of content. NTEU is concerned that government and university management see these innovations as both a source of cheap publicity and ‘efficiency savings’ in education with scant regard for whether this method of delivery is truly innovative, constitutes good pedagogy or makes financial sense.
These modes of delivery also have the potential to transform not just the nature of university work, but also the nature of the Australian university sector, through the disaggregation of the academic role and the research and teaching missions of universities. NTEU also notes that university managements are increasingly seeking to employ multiple teaching sessions (MTS) and extended teaching sessions as part of their approach to flexible modes of teaching. As well as pedagogical impacts, these policies have consequences for both academic and general staff, particularly in relation to work intensification, and may diminish opportunities for professional development and career progression. NTEU will use industrial and political processes to address workforce issues related to the various online, flexible, open, and multiple modes of delivery (including MTS) such as the impact on workloads, intellectual property rights and remuneration. In addition the NTEU will continue to closely monitor the ongoing development of these modes with a view to encouraging broader debate on the pedagogy of such modes, both within the Union and more broadly.
COGNITIVE COMPUTING EDUCATION
NTEU Notes: 1. The accelerating use of Cognitive Computing (CC), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and similar technologies in Australian universities and internationally; 2. The potential for CC and AI to transform the way work is performed in higher education; 3. The potential benefits and costs to the way higher education is delivered and the impact that will have on students; 4. The potential benefits and costs to staff in the way work is performed, new work opportunities and the loss of work in areas replaced by CC and AI; and 5. The potential for costs to outweigh benefits in terms of the industrial impact on university staff. NTEU Believes: 1. Universities are unique workplaces in the particular human interactions that are required to provide a genuine university experience for students; 2. Improvements in technology can have positive and/or negative effects; 3. The introduction of AI or CC should enhance the student experience; 4. The introduction of AI or CC should promote critical thinking amongst students and be consistent with the universityâ€™s commitment to equal opportunity and nondiscrimination; 5. The introduction of AI or CC should not lead to any overall increase in the workload of any individual staff, and so any increase in work due to AI or CC should be offset by equivalent reductions in other aspects of work; and 6. The introduction of AI or CC should not lead to any staff redundancies or to the conversion of continuing positions into fixed-term or casual positions. NTEU Will: 1. Undertake or commission research into the implications of AI in higher education for university staff, students and the university system as a whole; 2. Call for the development of a regulatory framework for the introduction of AI or CC across the economy as a whole;
3. Seek to engage in the development of the regulatory framework for the introduction of AI or CC in Higher Education; 4. Provide resources to branches and members to enable them to deal with AI issues, where possible in advance of them emerging, at individual universities; 5. Promote active involvement by members in AI issues; 6. Coordinate action between divisions and branches on AI issues; 7. Liaise with comparable unions and appropriate experts in other countries to identify common issues and potential responses; 8. Develop a strategy on AI in the university sector; 9. Seek in Bargaining to secure a consultative process for AI and CC introduction, subject to the stage of bargaining at each individual institution.
FREE TERTIARY EDUCATION NTEU notes: • • •
• • •
NTEU policy is consistent with Education International policy that all public education should be tuition fee free; Internationally, the trend is towards lowering or abolishing fees in public institutions; Australian students pay amongst the highest fees in the OECD to attend a public university where we have the second lowest level of public investment in tertiary education; A substantial proportion of the HECS/HELP debt will never be repaid; Over a lifetime graduates in employment will not only earn more, but also pay considerably higher taxes; and Public opinion is strongly in opposition to tuition fees
NTEU believes: • • •
The tide has turned in the public discourse around tertiary tuition fees; The neo-liberal discourse focussed upon arcane and unquantifiable notions of public and private benefit from education is finally losing credibility; The continual lowering of income repayment thresholds means that income contingent loans schemes like HECS/HELP simply shift inequality from the point of entry into tertiary education to the point of graduation; Widening access to education must never be used as the justification for increased student fees.
Therefore, NTEU will focus our public advocacy and campaigning on not only increasing public investment in public VET and higher education but also for the eventual abolition of tuition fees at public institutions. HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING Universities are a core social and cultural institution, providing education and research. Universities, along with the CSIRO, are the home of basic research which is essential for the breakthroughs and innovations that address the big issues of our times. They also contribute to Australia’s economic prosperity. Despite the clear importance of higher education, Australia’s public investment is still well below that of other industrialised economies and Australian students currently pay amongst the highest fees in the world to attend public universities.
Australian universities are public institutions that are highly regulated by government, yet public grants account for only about a third of university income. The remainder of income is derived from international student fees (about one dollar in five) and domestic student tuition fees and HECS contribution, which accounts for just under half of the total income. The following principles underscore NTEU’s position on higher education funding: •
Australia must maintain and continue to improve our high quality and equitable public university system, where opportunities to attain higher education qualifications are available to all eligible students regardless of income or where they live.
Access to higher education must be equitable and merit based.
Publicly funded universities have an inherent responsibility to act in the public interest and for the public good.
Deregulation, Funding Cuts and Public Subsidies to for-Profit Private Providers The NTEU’s $100,000 degree campaign which ran from 2014 until 2016 was instrumental in forcing the Coalition government to back down on its policies to deregulate fees for Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) and open up CSPs to for-profit private providers. However, it remains that the Coalition government’s stated policy is for budget savings, to be achieved by cutting public investment in higher education and shifting a larger proportion of the costs to students. Furthermore, the government seeks to undermine the income contingent nature of the student loans system (HECS-HELP) and increase the burden on students by lowering the income repayment threshold for HECS-HELP debts to below average weekly earnings. The NTEU is firmly opposed to cuts to Higher Education funding and any policy initiatives that see student debt increased. We oppose the continued neo-liberalist shift in higher education policy since the reintroduction, and subsequent growth, in tertiary tuition fees, leaving students burdened with increasing levels of debt. The NTEU also condemns the increasing allocation of funding and equity subsidies on forprofit, third-party academic service providers. Third party services that are designed outside of, and are unaccountable to, systems of academic governance, erode the public education system's academic integrity, intellectual freedom and teaching standards. Universities' adoption of such so-called academic services is an example of outsourcing and offshoring of Australian tertiary sector jobs by stealth. The NTEU believes all public education, including higher education, should be tuition fee free and provided within publicly accountable academic institutions. Funding Impacts on the Workforce Insufficient public funding, combined with institutional managements seeking to reduce both costs and the industrial rights of their staff with the use of a more flexible sessional workforce, has led to higher education becoming the most highly casualised industry after tourism and retail. NTEU notes that while the full time equivalent proportion of casual and contract employees is less than 50%, in actual number terms casual and contract employees working account for twoin-three (64%) people in the university workforce. More than half of all teaching is carried
out by casual academics employees paid by the hour for a few hours a week over a teaching period. The continued casualisation of university teaching will ultimately adversely impact on students, academics and the quality of the educational experience. NTEU also notes that while universities are expected to undertake basic and applied research, funding remains inadequate to cover the total costs of research. Of the more than 50% increase in research-only staff since 2000, eight-out-of-ten (80%) are on fixed term contracts. This adversely impacts upon the attractiveness of pursuing a research career and long term research capacity. Reliance on International Fee Income NTEU acknowledges that, as the third largest export industry in Australia, the tertiary education sector is integral to the economic wellbeing of the nation. Universities constitute the largest component of the education sector which generates in the order of $20 billion in export income. However, this reliance by universities on overseas student fee income exposes the sector to volatility in the market and fluctuations in currency exchange rates. Any downturns in the market result in significant job losses, which, given the scope of the sector, can impact negatively on the Australian economy more broadly. NTEU remains concerned that government and sector policy initiatives that seek to increase our reliance on overseas student fee income, which will be used to further subsidise domestic teaching and research, exposes both institutions and the sector more broadly, to unacceptable risk. In addition, the Union believes that the primary purpose of international education is not to generate income to subsidise the core work of teaching and research within publically funded institutions, but to promote the benefits of education via the lens of educational exchange, international capacity building and human rights. Towards a Sustainable and Equitable Higher Education Sector Funding Framework Instead of public funding cuts and deregulation, NTEU believes that our public universities require a predictable and sustainable funding model that gives both government and universities some certainty in planning, and that takes into account student, community, professional and industry needs. Such a framework will put Australia on an even footing with other industrialised economies and assist in generating a more secure and sustainable economic future. NTEU supports increased public investment in higher education. The level of funding must cover the costs of educating students, including from diverse backgrounds and regions across Australia. A first step would be to increase the base funding of Australiaâ€™s public universities by at least 10 per cent per student (as recommended by the 2007 Bradley Review of Higher Education) as well as measured increase in the level of public investment to the equivalent of at least 1 per cent of GDP. NTEU recognises that expanding higher education opportunities across the population requires more than just enabling enrolment. To facilitate the successful completion of qualifications by students from disadvantaged backgrounds, NTEU supports:
The abolition of tuition fees;
An increase and expansion of student income support; 73
A requirement that all institutions in receipt of government subsidies for teaching and learning, develop programs aimed at improving the participation and completion rates of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including specifically targeting the increased participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders;
A requirement that institutions levying the Student Services Amenities Fee (SSAF) ensure independent and democratic student representation and provide adequate funding to support student support, welfare and advocacy services.
NTEU will continue to actively engage with our members, staff, students and others within the sector, governments and the community more broadly, in all matters related to Higher education funding, guided by the principles and resolutions laid out in this policy. RESEARCH PRINCIPLES AND FUNDING NTEU believes that research is central to the mission of higher education institutions, particularly universities. Basic research drives the development and exploration of new fields of knowledge, while applied research creates economic and social value from existing knowledge. Both forms of research activity underpin high quality undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, as well as contributing to technological innovation, economic growth, cultural diversity and social development. Research undertaken in universities is unique in the wide range of research activities and outcomes which it engenders. These span all discipline areas and include, for example, the pursuit, transformation and advancement of knowledge generally as well as projects addressing specific cultural, economic and social needs. NTEUâ€™s positions on research scholarship and activity, public and private funding, infrastructure and development, as well as the role that research plays more broadly, are outlined below. 1.
The Role of Government and Public Funding of Research
Government has a key role to play in sustaining research activity across public organisations and providing incentives for business and industry to invest in research. Government also has a responsibility to build and sustain a research and innovation culture across the university and research sectors. Furthermore, research conducted within the higher education sector cannot and should not replace the type of research needed in industry or private enterprise, but should contribute to the development of productive links within and between these sectors. The pursuit of these public goals requires funding models that are stable, sustainable and aimed at long-term increases in investment. To this end government has a duty to properly fund both the direct and indirect costs of research and to ensure that the scale of funding accounts for inflation, and remains indexed to the real costs of research. The purpose of research funding from government is to produce outcomes in the public interest, but in so doing it sustains the capacity to drive scientific and technological innovation and the generation of private goods.
NTEU therefore believes that the public funding of research should seek to: •
Strengthen institutional autonomy and academic freedom;
Support mechanisms that drive a strong culture of collaboration rather than competition;
Acknowledge the importance of scholarly teaching and research in creating and disseminating new knowledge and in educating a highly skilled graduate workforce that is able to drive Australia’s future civility and prosperity;
Recognise the importance of building partnerships directly with communities to enhance social inclusion as well as foster research and development; and
Promote distinctive and autonomous missions for Universities which reflect the broad public interest of the various communities in which Universities work, including the international academic community.
The Union supports the establishment of a new buffer body with statutory responsibilities to oversee planning and funding across Universities and the broader Further and Higher Education sectors. Such a body may provide funding incentives promoting enhanced engagement with local and regional communities on critical issues such as climate change, environmental management, Indigenous social justice, and responding to the challenges of lifting productivity and meeting labour market needs. Together with broader higher education funding arrangements, the levels and dispersion of research funding has major implications for the purpose and activities of universities including sharper separations of teaching and research, further reliance on non-continuing (sessional, casual and fixed term) staff, greater stratification of universities, the contestability of research grants, access to research training places and capacity for progression through research careers. NTEU’s response to major policy changes in relation to research funding are guided by the following principles: •
The importance of wide consultation with the whole higher education sector, including staff and students;
The critical need to ensure effective funding for basic research at universities;
University research outcomes and benefits should be measured as both external (enhancement of economic and social opportunities) and internal (contribution to the quality of research training within universities);
The importance of the teaching/research nexus and research-led teaching practices.
The role of government in relation to the allocation of research funding must also protect institutional autonomy. This means that decisions about research funding should be conducted through a robust arms-length process and grant funding decisions of statutory bodies like the Australian Research Council (ARC) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) must be respected by government. Ministerial interference in the research funding decisions made by universities and statutory bodies is unacceptable, the only
exception being where there are demonstrable issues of corruption or breach of academic integrity.
Research funding: infrastructure NTEU asserts that it is the responsibility of Government to ensure that research infrastructure within higher education institutions is maintained at a sufficient level to sustain publicly-funded research activity. The level of funding required for this purpose should be calculated with reference to the infrastructure costs of research funded from all public sources (including public funding obtained through the research quantum of operating grants). It should also take account of the different types of research infrastructure and cost differentials relevant to different discipline areas, the infrastructure costs of research training and indirect as well as project - related infrastructure costs. NTEU supports the existence of specific funding mechanisms f or research infrastructure and research support and research training through research block grants. Such a mechanism should ensure that block funding is distributed to higher education institutions according to an index which reflects both the direct and indirect costs of research support, including those associated with research training. All such funding should be pegged to the actual cost of research. Research funding: non-government sources Research projects funded by non-government sources should be funded on the basis of fullcost-recovery. The direct and indirect infrastructure costs of such projects should be calculated as part of this process. Research funding: research grants system The increasing reliance on competitive research funding and the failure of competitive research grants to cover the full costs of research has resulted in a loss of employment security for research designated staff employed at Australian universities. Many research staff (as distinct from teaching and research staff) are paid out of grant monies from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), which are often inadequate to cover base salary rates let alone on-costs. Institutions often fail to make up these gaps. This inhibits the career prospects of research staff as these grants are often inadequate to allow for promotion during contract periods, and ARC rules prohibit fixed term research staff from taking on Chief Investigator roles. NTEU will continue to advocate in support of:
A better balance between institutionally based research and competitive research grants in order to lift research performance;
Significant increases in competitive research funds to ensure that Australian research remains internationally competitive and that research is fully costed and fully funded;
Encouraging people to take up academic and research dedicated careers at Australian universities, including the need for a greater number of scholarships paid at a higher level;
Improving job security for researchers;
Supporting the development of a pool of world-recognised researchers by increasing the number of overseas research scholarships to assist international mobility;
Increasing the value and length of stipends for postgraduate scholarships;
Continued union participation in relevant government committees and forums, such as those on research costs and research misconduct;
Encouraging collaboration between universities and business; and
Increasing research infrastructure funding.
Research funding: Australian Research Council (ARC) •
ARC funding should be based on the following principles:
Its function must be centred upon fulfilling its statutory responsibilities:
It must reinforce the ARC’s capacity to provide advice other than that which the Minister requests;
There must be transparency in relation to Ministerial direction;
Constraints on Ministerial power in appointing the Board, amending its Strategic Plan and in allocating funding between programs;
The appointment to and the role of Committees and/or Expert Panels must be clearly defined and transparent
NTEU affirms the importance of research education at undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral levels in maintaining the quality and vigour of Australia’s research and development. The most effective research education occurs in environments where the productive relationship between teaching and research activity is supported and fostered. Higher education research and research training play a vital strategic role in supporting Australia’s economic and social wellbeing. Therefore, it is essential that there is no diminution in the size of Australia’s research training sector, and that there is effective planning for growth in the future. Much responsibility for ensuring equity, quality and diversity in Australia’s research training system rests with Government. Accordingly, Government must: •
Develop a strategic, sector-wide approach to research training, in consultation with NTEU, CAPA and other stakeholders. This approach should recognise the links between 78
research training and a national innovation strategy, embrace initiatives to improve the quality of research training at both postgraduate and postdoctoral levels, and be accompanied by appropriate levels of funding; •
Maintain in real terms at least the current level of public investment in postgraduate research training;
Ensure that payment of stipends and funding per student to institutions is maintained for at least four years;
Adjust award and scholarship stipends to reflect adjustments in costs of living;
Ensure that rigorous standards of financial and academic accountability apply to institutions offering research training;
Recognise the failure of market-oriented funding mechanisms to deliver equity, quality and diversity in research training;
Regularly review the resources available to institutions for the purpose of research training, and ensure that they are adequate; and
Increase the number of postdoctoral fellowships available such as a competitive funding scheme specifically designed to provide seed funding to Early Career Researchers (ECRs).
Higher education institutions also have a measure of responsibility in maintaining the quality of the research education environment. Specifically, higher education institutions must:
Ensure that all academic staff have opportunities to engage in teaching, research and scholarship during the course of their employment, and are supported in taking advantage of these opportunities;
Ensure that postgraduate students and postdoctoral scholars are provided with adequate resources to support their research;
Ensure that institutional scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships are allocated on the basis of fair and transparent mechanisms;
Ensure that discretionary funding is allocated for the support of ECRs within the institution;
Enlist the support of industry and the community in lobbying government for increases in funding for research training. International Research Community
Australian research is highly entwined with international academic communities, and individual researchers are often working directly with other researchers in projects across the globe. This means that Australian researchers are able to embrace other international research cultures and utilise research infrastructure in partnership with international colleagues. It is important that our institutions facilitate international engagement through funded programs, thus supporting academic mobility. Such activity can also enhance our international competitiveness. 5.
Research and Academic Freedom 79
Research and development activities are at the heart of our social, cultural and economic development, and provide the necessary base for progress and innovation in all forms of knowledge. It also underpins the important role of critical and expert commentary both in scholarly and public debate. The capacity of public institutions to undertake research is founded upon the preservation of academic freedom, including the rights of staff to determine the direction of research, to participate in decision-making structures and processes within the institution and the role of institutions in protecting academic integrity above the private or corporate interests of third parties. The adoption of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) in 2015 and the implementation of Watt Reviewâ€™s recommendations in relation to the distribution of research block grant funding will place far greater emphasis on collaboration between universities and business sector as well as the commercialisation of research activity. For research staff these policies can mean the erosion of research as a â€œpublic goodâ€?, loss of individual control over research direction and results (including intellectual property rights) and increased competition with colleagues. NTEU will continue to monitor the value, integrity and accountability of government programs that attempt to shape and modify the relationship between public funding and industry focused research. 6.
Research and Indigenous Scholarship
NTEU acknowledges the importance of valuing and sustaining all Indigenous knowledge systems, and in particular the role of the Australian public research system in preserving the unique intellectual traditions and knowledge systems of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NTEU also supports establishing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholarship as a key national research priority. In closing the gap, the importance of valuing and sustaining Indigenous knowledge systems through the development of an Indigenous Learned Academy, along with developing and enhancing Indigenous research and innovation by establishing an Indigenous Centre for Research Excellence, are essential components. Research is a critical factor in both understanding and shaping the political, social and cultural life experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The NTEU supports the recognition of the different research methodologies and cultural sensitivities associated with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander intellectual traditions and knowledge systems. 7.
The implementation of organising, industrial and recruitment and campaigns within research institutes attached to universities is the responsibility of all levels of the Union. 8.
Research in TAFE
There are particular industrial and professional issues pertaining to research in TAFE and adult education, and NTEU undertakes to investigate how they might be addressed in relation to the overall higher education research policy. 9.
Research Performance Measurement
NTEU supports the pursuit of research excellence. However, the operations of universities, including research, are subject to a myriad of quality assurance mechanisms, and there lies an inherent risk with any system of measurement as it may affect research direction. As a consequence, academic freedom and university independence could be undermined and reduced. The NTEU also notes that many universities are moving towards performance measurement as a means of imposing greater levels of institutional managerialism. NTEU believes that the credible use of any Research Evaluation System (RES) rests on a number of key principles:
It must be based upon a credible methodology. The process and methodology must be transparent, accountable and dependent upon staff consent, and take account of research outputs as well as inputs;
It should be based on an independent analysis of how the outcomes impact upon research activity and staffing, and the results of such assessments must be made public;
It must be developed through adequate and meaningful consultation at a national level with NTEU, and at an institutional level through a transparent process that includes meaningful consultation with staff;
The instrument must be subject to independent review and assessed to account for distortions and unintended consequences;
It must explicitly preserve academic freedom and prevent institutions from using performance measurement as a means of shutting down ‘non-strategic’ research interests of academic and research staff;
It must not produce divisive competition nor impinge on the collegial environment that is essential for the development and rigorous testing of new knowledge;
It must not disadvantage groups that traditionally have not had a high research profile or experience difficulty in maintaining one;
It must protect and build Indigenous research;
It must ensure that early career researchers (ECRs) are not disadvantaged;
It must preserve the teaching/ research nexus. Teaching and research must continue to be linked in the process of engaging with new knowledge for university staff and students;
The government should fully fund the cost of any research assessment mechanism, including the compliance costs to universities of taking part in it;
There must be clarity and consultation in terms of its policy and funding outcomes for universities. It must be linked to substantial extra funding for research and scholarship in universities rather than the reallocation of the current amounts of funding;
In terms of reporting, the assessment system must provide clear delineations in its analysis of research performance produced by paid staff, taking into 81
account fractional and non-permanent employment modes, relative seniority of career, and research produced by unpaid staff; and •
It should operate within the current framework of industrial agreements.
NTEU affirms that where the imposition of systems of research performance measurement impact upon the character, workload, or autonomy of academic and research staff, this is a matter that is fundamentally relevant to the employment relationship, and if it is used as a basis for the management of staff performance, it is a matter relevant to codification in the collective agreement. 10.
Excellence in Research Australia (ERA)
The ongoing problems with the ERA are multifaceted but are led by the following concerns: •
ERA has led to numerous unanticipated outcomes, some of which are not consistent with the assurances that government originally made to the sector.
It is still not evident how ERA provides the sector with the capacity to identify and nurture emerging areas of research excellence;
The ERA methodology did not and does not effectively include or protect Indigenous research;
There is yet to be an independent review of ERA that considers the implications upon staff, academic freedom and the character of research;
Consent of individual staff is not a condition of the use of their research output data;
Though the sector has recognised that ERA produces perverse and harmful consequences, particularly in relation to institutional managerialism, government has refused to assess these risks.
Given the failure of Government to deal with these fundamental flaws, the NTEU supports the abolition of the ERA. NTEU endorses the actions of members who withhold voluntary labour for the ERA (e.g. as assessors of other institutions submissions). The NTEU will monitor the impact of the managerialism associated with the ERA, and seek to curtail the actions of those institutions implementing measures of staff performance or managing research resources on its basis. 11.
Research Staff Employment
NTEU notes that there is a range of specific and unique employment problems faced by research staff, and that research staff suffer from significant disadvantage in many areas of employment conditions. Numerous barriers facing those who wish to pursue a dedicated research career within universities include:
Ongoing job insecurity, including the employment of the vast bulk of research -only staff on fixed term contracts, resulting in re-employment gaps and the roll-over of contracts;
A series of other inferior employment conditions in which are covered in greater detail in the Industrial Policy section of this document. 82
Growing levels of casualisation that particularly impact on postgraduate students;
Pay rates and other conditions for university researchers that are not competitive with industry, including lack of access to central funding for parental, long service, study leave and severance pay;
Inadequate indexation of research grants for salary and conditions purposes;
Poor acknowledgement and protection of intellectual freedom;
Pressures on researchers’ ability to undertake curiosity driven research in an environment increasingly governed by project based research funding;
Rationalisation of research activities into fewer areas of strength and the pressure for staff to limit their research to areas that fit into one of the identified areas of strength;
The lack of income support measures available to HDR students.
NTEU believes that urgent steps are needed to create an environment where pursuing a research dedicated career at an Australian university is a more attractive proposition. The aging of the academic workforce will create significant difficulties for universities in recruiting the number of research staff necessary to replace the large proportion of academics likely to retire in the next decade. Without adequate career path planning for university researchers, this recruitment task will become even more difficult, and Australia’s universities and our innovation effort potentially will suffer through both a reduced research effort and a reduced ability to produce graduates capable of working in applied, experimental and strategic research endeavours. NTEU will continue to develop strategies to address the need for continuity of employment for research staff by:
Targeting recruitment campaigns for research-only staff on an institution-by-institution basis;
Liaising with and lobbying granting bodies (particularly the ARC and NHMRC) to ensure that appropriate provision for salaries, employee benefits, professional development and other infrastructure for research only staff is specified in grant application guidelines. Research Staff: Medical and Health Faculties and Institutes
NTEU remains concerned that the expansion of medical and health funding programs is occurring without detailed workforce planning and with little consideration of longer term sustainability in student numbers, and that there is a widening gap between pay rates and clinical loadings paid in universities and in hospitals and health services. NTEU will ensure organising and recruiting among staff in medical and health faculties remain a priority. 13.
Responsible Animal Use
NTEU recognises the important contribution that Australian researchers have made in the areas of human and animal health and welfare and that from time to time such research includes the use or observation of animals. NTEU notes that teaching and research involving
animals is subject to an extensive regulatory regime and that all university staff engaged in teaching and research activities are required to comply with these instruments. NTEU encourages all members engaged in teaching and research activities that impact on animals to seek and implement alternatives to animal use, to continuously reassess the need for animal involvement, to take all possible measures to reduce any negative impacts on animals and to comply with all relevant regulations, rules and codes that are applicable.
DEFENCE TRADE CONTROLS The NTEU notes that the Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 (Cwth) includes criminal offences that may incur serious criminal penalties for the supply or publication of academic research in relation ‘controlled technologies’ (under the Defence Strategic Goods List) unless an academic or researcher is protected by a formal permit. The Bill reflects the Government’s desire to monitor the work of the Australian academic community in order to have control over defence technologies covered by the provisions of the 2007 Australia – United States Defence Trade Cooperation Treaty. The term ‘controlled technologies’ includes ‘dual-use’ technologies which has the potential of capturing a wide range of scholars, many who have never had anything to do with specific defence-related research. Furthermore, what might be considered ‘criminal activity’ under the Act could relate to everyday common-place academic activities such as sharing reports or data remotely (e.g. scans and faxes, emails and attachments or data-sharing through cloud-based applications) or the ‘publication’ of military research (such as through journal articles, refereed conference papers, blog posts) with some colleagues overseas. The Act represents a serious derogation of academic freedom. The Act gives the Defence Minister the power to prohibit the supply, brokering or publishing of controlled technology where the Minister “reasonably believes” this would “prejudice the security, defence or international relations of Australia”. The NTEU believes that while Australia has an important responsibility as a member of the international community to guard against the misuse of controlled technologies, it must not diminish inherent freedoms and human rights, including academic freedom, which the production of university research fundamentally depends upon. There are also numerous legislative channels, such as the Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995, that already guard against these concerns. The NTEU will advocate for academic freedom considerations to be introduced to the legislation and to be incorporated into all decisions made by the Defence Minister (and her or his delegates), including in terms of the revocation of a permit and the pursuit of a criminal prosecution. INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION NTEU acknowledges that international education is a critical component of our tertiary education sector, allowing exposure to cultural diversity and promoting cultural exchange with other countries. International education can enrich Australian educational practices and allows our universities to promote their teaching and research within the global context.
International education also provides opportunities to broaden Australia’s understanding of our region and increases mutual understanding through soft diplomacy. NTEU notes that the growth in international student numbers has resulted in greater internationalisation of Australia’s tertiary education curriculum in all Australian universities and across all fields of study, and has improved the quality of Australia’s higher education more broadly. Universities are also attempting to internationalise their research and research collaborations with overseas universities and overseas industries, and are increasingly involved in the provision of professional and skills training to overseas industries alongside Australia’s development assistance program of capacity-building in the Asia Pacific region. Furthermore, universities and VET institutions are beginning to become increasingly active in sending Australian students abroad for part of their studies, although the extent of that international engagement, when compared to other countries, remains relatively minimal. NTEU believes that while international education will continue to grow and be an important part of the Australian higher education sector, government and institutional strategies must not only have commercial and economic interests at their core, but also explicitly take into account the interests of all stakeholders, including international students, those who support and teach them, researchers and academics who have standing and interest in international education, and the broader community. The rapid growth of Australian international education has industrial and policy implications for those working in our universities, as well as having potentially adverse consequences for the development of strong, domestic higher education systems in the home countries of international students. There is no doubt that international links and partnerships are important, including the roles of preparing graduates who are capable of holding influential social, political, economic, scientific (and cultural) roles in their countries, and assisting other countries in developing their own education systems with an aim of improving quality. Where these objectives are pursued because of the broad societal, cultural and economic benefits that education brings both at home and abroad, the outcomes for the sector overall and overseas countries are overwhelmingly positive. However, should our engagement be reduced to a need to outperform our competitors in the global education market, then our ability to deliver quality education programs to both domestic and international students may be seriously compromised, ultimately putting our higher education sector at risk. NTEU remains strongly of the view that international education programs should remain committed to encouraging regional engagement and providing two way international exchanges. It must be remembered that Australia invites international students to co me to this country to learn, and as such we have a responsibility for not only their education but their well-being too. As such, international student markets should be seen through the lens of educational exchange, international capacity building and human rights, rather than a global market for profit and economic exploitation, where the only measures for success are increased student numbers, increased fee income, increased profits for providers and growth for its own sake. NTEU will continue to advocate strongly that international education promotes the benefits of education and encourages cultural, social, economic and diplomatic links throughout our region. NTEU will also continue to promote these goals to Government and the higher education sector more broadly. INTERNATIONAL ENGAGEMENT
NTEU affirms Education International’s policy on the critical role that education and teaching play in combating poverty, in promoting peace, social justice, human rights, democracy, cultural diversity and environmental awareness. NTEU believes that education is the key to uniting nations and overcoming divisions between people, societies and cultures. The Union believes that it is important to recognise the crucial role of education in contributing to building a culture of peace. We condemn those instances in which education is undermined in order to attack democracy, equality and human rights. A culture of peace and non-violence goes to the substance of fundamental human rights: social justice, democracy, literacy, respect and dignity for all, international solidarity, emancipation, respect for workers’ rights and core labour standards, children rights, gender equality, cultural identity and diversity, the rights of first nation peoples and minorities, and the preservation of the natural environment. A society that, at its core, values and promotes teaching and education, has a direct and positive impact on these fundamental human rights and social justice issues. The following policy outlines the Union’s core principles on issues directly related to education and teaching in higher education. NTEU notes that the privatisation and commercialisation of further and higher education continues to expand in Australia and globally with consequent exacerbation of class, race, cultural, and gender inequalities, which run contrary to the purported purpose of expanding access to decent education as a major contributor to increased universal equality, prosperity and peace. Internationally the privatisation and commercialisation of education has become a major issue for Education International as companies expand from the further and higher education sector to seeking profit through control of school education by establishing private schools and monopolising provision of education resources. In addition private companies are successfully tendering for the provision of assessment and accountability systems from governments and public agencies.
UNIVERSITY REGULATION AND GOVERNANCE NTEU notes: Australia’s universities are highly-valued autonomous civic institutions with core responsibilities for the provision of higher education, research, community service and engagement both domestically and internationally. Irrespective of the demarcation between public and private benefit to the student, or the mix of public and private funding to institutions, higher education remains a public good necessary to serve the public interest. In this respect, universities are accountable to multiple stakeholders, including Commonwealth, State and Territory governments, the communities in which they are located and serve, and constituent groups of academic and general staff, students and graduates. NTEU believes: In order to maintain this essential purpose the regulatory and governance framework for universities must ensure that every Australian university: • •
Is established through Commonwealth or State or Territory legislation; Promotes the distinctive and autonomous missions of universities;
• • • • • • • •
Promotes and protects freedom of conscience, freedom of intellectual inquiry, and other manifestations of academic freedom; Continues to design and accredit its own courses and programs of study consistent with the rules of relevant accreditation bodies; Delivers undergraduate and postgraduate courses across a range of broad fields of study; Offers research training and education including Masters Degrees (Research) and Doctoral Degrees (Research) across a range of broad fields of study; Undertakes research that leads to the creation of new knowledge and original creative endeavour; Supports sustained scholarship that informs teaching and learning in all fields in which courses of study are offered; Supports and implements good practices in student teaching and learning; and Provides an extensive range of student services, including student academic and learning support.
Universities have a right to institutional autonomy and independence from government on governance issues. These are the defining values of universities worldwide. Institutional autonomy and academic freedom are essential to the work of Australian universities and are a core requirement for self-accrediting institutions. The university’s governing bodies play a critical role in protecting and sustaining the core functions of a university, to deliver teaching and research that engages with advanced knowledge and inquiry, and to promote and protect freedom of inquiry and other academic freedoms. Likewise, transparency and accountability in governance is necessary to encourage freedom of expression and thought. In relation to university governance, the NTEU considers that: •
The size and composition of a university governing body’s membership should reflect the institution’s mission and the diverse constituencies to which it is accountable. The size and composition of a governing body should be legislated in a university’s enabling Act; As civic institutions defined by distinctive public interests, governing bodies have a responsibility to uphold principles of open and ethical governance, to the extent that the actions of these bodies and their members remain lawful; The governing body must acknowledge and value the essential role of the academic board, and seek to build cooperation and understanding between the two bodies. Members of governing bodies should support a culture of open decision-making on academic board, and respect the role and views of university staff in relation to matters of curriculum, pedagogy, and professional development; Each governing body should have a formal program of professional development for members. This should go beyond ensuring that members are aware of their duties and responsibilities and should include a relevant, high quality induction for new members. At a minimum this should provide training In areas around how to access and interpret institutional data, financial information, and around working constructively with diversity; The key responsibility for the governing body is the sound management and stewardship of the institution. All members of university governing bodies have a responsibility to: o o
hold the University management to account for its decisions, actions and direction; act in the best interests of the university as a whole;
o o o o
o o o o •
understand the mission of the university, consistent with legislative and regulatory obligations, and to assist in defining the university’s strategic direction; contribute to the monitoring and review of the governing body, including the performance of the Vice-Chancellor, and ensure that governance structures and processes are fit for purpose; contribute to establishing and monitoring systems that enhance accountability and the management of risk, including for controlled entities and third-party arrangements, and to ensure these systems are followed; ensure that structures and processes are in place to maintain academic standards. This includes upholding academic freedom and institutional autonomy and working with academic board, as specified by the institution’s governing instruments; communicate and engage with university stakeholders and the general public to the extent that this is reasonable and does not risk a breach of confidence; act lawfully and ethically, which means to exercise due care and diligence, to act in good faith, honestly and for a proper purpose; be engaged with the expectations and values of the broader community; and promote equality and diversity throughout the institution.
University governing bodies should not unreasonably discriminate between governing body members, and all members have a right to serve on relevant committees and sub-committees as stipulated through the university’s enabling legislation or statutes; Members of university governing bodies have a right to the full and timely provision of information about the operation of the institution. Measures to oversee controlled entities should include that the provision of relevant documentation is in line with a university’s public service obligations and should be available to all governing body members; Members of university governing bodies have the right to provide representation of the constituent interests that embody universities as distinctive public institutions. Where information is necessary, to act in the best interest of the university as a whole, and it is not commercial-in-confidence, members of governing bodies have an obligation to keep constituencies informed about deliberations and seek their views and advice.
Staff and Student Representation University staff and student representatives are critical to good corporate governance because they have expertise and detailed knowledge on university matters, its culture and operations, including in relation to teaching and research activities. A high level of elected staff and student representation on university governing bodies is also critical to safeguarding public accountability and transparency. The direct appointment of staff and student representatives, by management or by the governing body, reduces the diversity of opinion available and undermines the confidence of staff in governance decisions. Staff and students who serve on governing bodies have the confidence of the university community when they are elected through fair and open election processes. The NTEU also notes that university staff and students have a right and a professional responsibility to participate in university governing bodies and to criticise the functioning of higher education institutions, including their own, as set out in the Recommendation Concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel, adopted by the 1997 General Conference of UNESCO.
Changes to governing body size and composition should be based on an approach that ensures breadth of membership and depth of expertise. Academic Governance Academic governance in universities is the responsibility of academic boards operating in partnership with primary governing bodies, university councils or senates. The governance role of the university academic board encompasses responsibility for: • • • • • •
The maintenance and protection of academic and intellectual freedom; The accreditation and approval of programs/courses and units/subjects; The monitoring and enhancement of research and teaching quality; The maintenance of the university’s collegial and cooperative academic culture; Criteria and processes for academic promotion; and The policies and procedures related to these aspects of academic activity.
The NTEU notes that over the last two decades greater power and responsibilities have accrued to university executive groups at the expense of academic boards, with a consequent loss of academic control over academic matters and increased managerial interference in matters of academic governance. In order to reverse this trend, the NTEU considers that academic boards are constructed in accordance with the following principles: • •
Academic boards must be inclusive and participatory, with size and composition reflecting the university’s mission, programs and academic structures; The chair of academic board must be elected by members of that body and should be a member of the governing council/senate in an ex officio capacity to enable the academy to be represented on that governing body, independently of executive management; and The majority of members of academic boards should be academic staff and students, democratically elected by academic and student members of the university.
NTEU will: • • •
Support all means that build or reinforce openness, transparency and accountability on university governing bodies; Monitor and where possible expose improper conduct and corruption that occurs through university governing bodies; Pursue in amendment to university Acts, clauses which guarantee academic freedom protections, including the right to engage in debates concerning the effective operation of each institution; Campaign against legislation that reduces breadth of membership and depth of expertise on university governing bodies, including in relation to the reduction of staff and student representation; Support all means that reinforce participatory governance principles and that protect and enshrine the role of staff participation (both general and academic staff) in university governance; Request that State and Commonwealth governments review auditing requirements for universities’ controlled entities and commercial arms; Lobby the Australian government and TEQSA to evaluate institutional performance in relation to university governance, and produce annual reports comparing performance;
Build strategies to support and improve the effectiveness of staff and union representatives, including through the organisation of a University Governance workshop in 2018; Develop a model protocol (the NTEU Code of Ethical and Open University Governance) outlining the responsibilities of all members of universities’ governing bodies, for consideration and enactment through amendments to university legislation; Campaign within university communities about the importance of transparency in university governance and the importance of the contribution of elected staff and student representatives; Support adequate workload release provisions and child care to be made available for staff and students involved in governance functions of the institution; Monitor evidence in relation to: o models of good practice on institutional governance; o public evidence that ties staff and student representation to institutional performance; o current compositions of University Councils, including categories of membership, terms of office and modes of appointment; o the level and extent of payments to non-staff members of University Councils, including honoraria, allowances and expenses; and o policies and practices in relation to access to meetings, including restrictions, if any, on observers; and the use of “commercial in confidence” and other reasons for moving in camera, and the level of support to staff members on Council.
SECTION 6: SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL This section includes policies on Equity, Women, LGBTI matters, Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice and the Environment
EQUITY WOMEN IN THE NTEU NTEU notes that the majority of members are women (57% in 2015). This reflects the gender distribution within the higher education sector, with the overall majority of the staffing cohort in universities being women. However, women working in universities are disproportionately over-represented in lower level positions, teaching-only roles and insecure forms of employment. Conversely, women are significantly under-represented in ongoing academic roles and in senior level positions, be these in management, academia and/or research. Gender inequities and discrimination against women remain part of the work and societal experience of women, including within higher education and research. NTEU’s record in identifying issues and advocating for women and women’s rights industrially and politically contributes to the Union’s standing and respect in the tertiary education sector and the trade union movement. In addition to the Union’s own work promoting women in both education and the union movement, NTEU is a member of the ACTU Women’s Committee, and engages in broader, community based women’s events such as International Women’s Day and Equal Pay Day. NTEU supports international solidarity on women’s rights, including reproductive rights, workplace rights and gender equality. As an active affiliate of Education International (EI), NTEU also participates in the EI Women’s conference and matters related to women in education internationally. (The following policy relates specifically to women within NTEU and the Women’s Action Committee (WAC). Policy on issues such as gender equality, equal opportunity, discrimination and harassment, anti-domestic violence provisions and parental/maternity/carers leave are covered elsewhere.) Affirmation of the Women’s Action Committee The membership of the Women’s Action Committee (WAC) comprises one academic and one general staff representative from each Division, as well as a representative nominated by the Indigenous Policy Committee. The Committee is chaired by the National President and supported by staff from each section of the National Office. The Committee is governed by its Terms of Reference. Research across unions has shown that women appreciate unions working for women and on matters of interest for women. As such, the Women’s Action Committee (WAC) is a critical part of the NTEU’s structure and functions. WAC meets twice a year. included: • •
WAC considers any matters raised by members, which has
Monitoring gender equity legislation and progress in the sector and in the NTEU. Participating in trade union women’s activities.
Contributing feminist critique to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy, industrial and higher education policy and research analysis, education and training. recruitment and campaigns. Monitoring the gender implications of the Union’s broader activities and identifying new issues.
WAC also organises the NTEU’s biennial national women’s conference, coordinates the annual Bluestocking Week and has oversight of the annual women’s magazine Agenda. NTEU supports developing women delegates, activists and supporting women in leadership roles within the Union. Divisions and Branches are encouraged to work with their WAC representatives in order to improve the participation of women within the Union. NTEU events, such as the biennial National Women’s Conference and annual Bluestocking Week, are opportunities for Branches and Divisions to identify new women activists, provide opportunities for training and education for women delegates and leaders, and strengthen women’s networks. WAC will, in conjunction with the Divisions and Branches, work on initiatives aimed at improving the participation of women in the Union, particularly in leadership roles and on government bodies. Role of the Divisions in Supporting the Program of WAC Divisions should: • • •
• • •
Designate one of the elected Division Officers as having oversight of the Division’s WAC representatives, activities and work; Facilitate and maintain women’s networks/caucuses at Division level. Ensure the election of the Division representatives to WAC in a timely manner and determine replacement representatives for WAC members if they are unable to attend scheduled meetings; Support the WAC representatives and the activities of the WAC, including Bluestocking Week, and by ensuring that they are formally included in Divisional staff work allocations and budgets; Facilitate the provision of information coming from the WAC to Division and Branch forums, including relevant publications. Include a WAC report as a regular item on Division Council and Executive agendas; Through the Division representatives, report to WAC on women’s issues discussed at Division and Branch level.
NTEU Women on Governing Bodies and in Union Leadership Roles NTEU recognises that, relative to the composition of membership, gender imbalance continues to persist on some of the Union’s governing bodies. Under-representation of women in Union governing bodies, including at Branch level, is a significant impediment to recruiting women. The Union must demonstrate the changes we expect to see in our institutions and lead the way in changing gender inequity in the governance of organisations. Branches and Divisions are encouraged to adopt the following actions to encourage more women to participate in the union and to take up leadership roles:
• • • •
All governing bodies within the Union should aim to achieve at least proportionate representation of women to reflect the national average of members, at all levels. WAC will present an annual national, Division and Branch gender profile report. All levels of NTEU should consciously seek to encourage women to nominate for positions in our governing bodies. Divisions and Branches should: o Actively encourage women members to attend Division and Branch Committee meetings as observers; o Encourage women members to nominate, where any Division or Branch Committee position falls vacant; o Actively recruit both academic and general staff women to be involved in the membership of union governing bodies; o Give consideration to women with carer obligations when setting meeting times and places; o Actively encourage representation from women members on bargaining teams.
Where NTEU official delegations to conferences (e.g. ACTU and EI) are not at least 50% women that the delegation be adjusted through the inclusion of other elected women office holders. Enterprise Bargaining – Impact Assessment on Women NTEU notes that collective bargaining is core business of the Union. As such, it is vital that EB processes incorporate impact assessments for women (where applicable). These should initially relate to the national mandatory and recommended claims. Division and Branch bargaining teams should subsequently assess local NTEU, other unions (where applicable) and management claims. Particular attention should be given to impacts on women in terms of: • Recruitment and retention, • Equitable access to leave entitlements, • Flexible work options, • Career progression, • Superannuation, • Conversion and professional development opportunities. Where specific issues are found to have a substantive and inequitable impact on women's employment conditions and entitlements, bargaining teams are to make every effort to ensure that these issues are dealt with via the inclusion of clauses in Collective Agreements, and not merely in university policy. NTEU SUPPORT OF RIGHTS OF PEOPLE OF DIVERSE SEXUALITIES AND GENDERS The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) is committed to protecting the industrial, professional and civil rights of people of diverse sexualities and genders. NTEU asserts the rights of people of diverse sexualities and genders and rejects discrimination and sexual harassment in all its forms. Accordingly NTEU •
Has revised membership forms to add a selection, ‘non-identifying’, to existing ‘female’ and ‘male’ gender categories;
Refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, issues and activities using inclusive language terms, diverse sexualities and genders/ people of diverse sexualities and genders; Ensures that all industrial policies and bargaining clauses are lbgti inclusive; and Supports and resources the national qute (queer unionists in tertiary education) caucus and the formation of caucuses and networks at division and branch levels.
HUMAN RIGHTS MARRIAGE EQUALITY The NTEU notes that being able to legally marry the person of one’s choice is a human right and supports the campaign for marriage equality in Australia. Noting overwhelming community support for marriage equality, the NTEU calls upon the Australian Parliament to legislate as such immediately. OPPOSITION TO ISLAMOPHOBIA NTEU condemns Islamophobia, expressed in the rising number of attacks on people of Muslim faith living in Australia in the media, in the Parliament and on the streets and expresses our solidarity with Muslim Australians. REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS NTEU asserts the human and civil rights of asylum seekers and refugees and opposes the discriminatory refugee policies of successive Coalition and Labor Governments, and the current Coalition Government, which shirk Australia's human rights obligations and constrain asylum seekers from exercising their international legal right to settle in the community in Australia as refugees. We reaffirm our solidarity with refugees and we will promote the cause to members and will seek to educate and engage with the wider community over this issue. NTEU therefore: • Continues to call for an end to offshore processing; unequivocal opposition to the turn-back of asylum boats; and an end to mandatory detention; • Consequently condemns the decision of the alp toy support the coalition’s disgraceful policy of ‘turn backs’ of refugees and asylum seekers boats; • Supports academics for refugees, unionists for refugees and other refugee and asylum seeker support and solidarity groups; • Encourages members and divisions and branches to actively organise and campaigns through braider community, union and local workplace groups. • Commits to take all reasonable steps to change unisuper’s practices so that the fund expressly dissociates itself and its members’ resources from companies that receive money for the mandatory and offshore detention of refugees.
ENVIRONMENT NUCLEAR NON PROLIFERATION National Council notes that there has been an increase in the number of countries with nuclear weapons since the conclusion of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NNPT) and that the original five nuclear weapon States have not acted on their commitment to “accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament”. Council recognises the related risks of the possession and proliferation of nuclear weapons and that these risks are not confined to ‘rogue states’. Council also recognises that nuclear trade agreements with India or other countries outside the NNPT have the effect of weakening the already seriously compromised NNPT. In recognising the historical and ongoing link between uranium mining, reprocessing and weapons production (both plutonium based and depleted uranium) Council calls on the Australian Government to end all uranium mining, exploration and export. Council supports the campaign by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) for a new Nuclear Weapons Convention to ban the use, threat of use, development, and possession of nuclear weapons. Council encourages Branches and Divisions to invite speakers on this issue from the Australian affiliate of IPPNW, the Medical Association for the Prevention of War. CLIMATE CHANGE NTEU notes that the scientific evidence establishing a human contribution to climate change is overwhelming, and that the climate crisis will have far reaching political, social and economic effects. In these circumstances Governments, political parties, trade unions and civil society organisations are compelled to develop policies and action programs to protect future generations from the adverse consequences of climate change in Australia and across the world. NTEU recognises the urgent need to invest in and develop non-carbon intensive renewable energy industries in order to reduce and ultimately eliminate the emission of greenhouse gasses. Renewable energy will assist in establishing a clear timetable to enable the gradual phase-out of fossil-fuel industries and mines noting that Australian resource companies have substantial coal mining investments in Australia and globally. NTEU calls on the Australian Government in consultation with States, trade unions, Indigenous custodians and land managers, farmers, and other stakeholders to develop a just transition strategy to move away from fossil-fuel industries, including funding the development of renewable energy industries and alternative sustainable jobs and training in communities currently dependent on carbon intensive extraction industries. Training for affected workers should be expanded in line with current initiatives to embed environmental sustainability within VET training packages and further education programs. Climate change policy should not rely primarily on market based solutions. A just transition strategy requires a major economic transformation based on alternative social and environmental priorities including Government driven investments, technological innovation, and skills development and social protection. This necessarily entails a national program which links infrastructure investments, procurement policies, local content rules and positive support for domestic manufacturing to underpin the transition to a low carbon economy which safeguards livelihoods and social and human rights.
NTEU recognises the desire of many NTEU members to organise within universities and the Union around sustainability issues, including initiatives to embed education for sustainability (EFS) in university programs and policies. NTEU will actively campaign in support of the above policy position, including by: •
Supporting a network of members and Branches interested in planning and coordinating Union activities on climate change and to ensure that all levels of the Union allocate adequate resources for continued work on climate change; Developing education resources on climate changes and remedies; Continuing to advocate within the trade union movement for policies in line with NTEU climate change policy and actively participate in the ACTU Climate Action Group; Engaging and working with other unions to develop future policy and strategy on transitioning the Australian economy from a reliance on fossil fuels as Australia’s primary energy source and major export earner; and Supporting and resourcing a sector-wide and branch-based campaign for divestment of university funds from fossil fuels, and Seeking full divestment of UniSuper including the defined benefit fund, from the fossil fuel sector.
ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY CAMPAIGNING IN UNIVERSITIES Recognizing the deep and broad support and action amongst members, staff and students for environmental sustainability in universities, NTEU recommends that branches and divisions take steps to establish Environment Committees at Division and Branch levels, including Union staff membership, to: a) investigate, develop, implement and monitor environmental sustainability measures; b) develop strategies to help Branches involve members in audits of local employer environmental practices; and c) report progress to the National Office to inform union wide initiatives
GENDER EQUITY POLICY STATEMENT The NTEU supports a view of Gender Equity based on the concept of equality, social justice and identity. As such, the NTEU endorses a definition of Gender Equity based on understanding the construction of gender and the different relationships of power and privilege in our society. The NTEU also recognises that issues of gender intersect with class, ethnic and cultural identity, sexuality, community, social, legal and civic institutions, and has an impact on both individuals and society. While sex is physiological, gender is a construct of society, which can be influenced by stereotypical assumptions based on class, race, ethnicity, culture and sexuality. The NTEU recognises: • • • • •
• • •
The gendered nature of education systems, at all levels; The gendered nature of paid and unpaid work; That insecure work and underemployment is a gendered issue; The power and economic imbalances which exist between diverse genders; The different relationships of power and privilege in our society, and that in Australia, patriarchy is still a structural force used to maintain gender, class and racial privilege and the status quo of power; That sexuality is a gender equity issue; Some constructions of gender may result in toxic and oppressive forms of masculinity and femineity; That Feminism, which is about women claiming their rights to self-determination and equality, intersects with gender equity in that it confronts gender conformity and aims to replace relationships of power with relationships that enable agency. That gender violence is the most extreme expression of gender oppression; be it carried out by individuals in private and/or by institutional forces in the public sphere. Families, communities, and social, legal and civic institutions may covertly and overtly endorse it; That whilst gender violence commands greater attention and fear; sexism and misogyny do their share to shape inequality, by defining and upholding restrictive gender norms.
Gender Equality is critical to liberation, but equality is not a matter of catching up, or narrowing the gap towards an ideal. It is a demand for a fundamental shift in the access to, and distribution of wealth, resources, and power. In order to achieve this, the NTEU supports adopting the following 5 principles in the business of the Union: 1. Make gender central • Ensure gender equality is central in union matters; • Address sexism, misogyny, inequity, inequality; • Challenge all forms of structural patriarchy; • Challenge the expectations of gender roles; • Redistribute power, which includes building women's power and making women's autonomy central. 2. Make equality central • Invest in well-being to benefit everyone; • Invest in women in the Union and as members, not only in services for them; • Build economic equality, security;
Challenge and change the basic conditions that disadvantage women, including the gendered nature of insecure work and underemployment.
3. Confront and engage with community and political leaders • Support community and political leaders who focus on preventing gender violence instead of preventing change; • Confront all forms of oppression, including homophobia; and • Make higher education institutions, as well as the broader communities they serve the subject, not the object, of change, thus involving their communities more directly. 4. Support measures to address gender violence • Ensure that gender based violence is seen as a workplace, as well as a social and economic concern; • Actively support legal, social and other measures that address the range of predation by perpetrators of violence, including coercive control and abuse by public and private actors; • Work with institutions, community and political leaders to support victims and survivors, condemn victim-blaming and sanction abusers; • Support the building of systems that are gateways, not barriers to services. 5. Build movements of solidarity • Undertake clear analysis of gender equity issues and ensure these are effectively communicated; • Anticipate and plan for resistance and negative responses to the push for gender equity, and be prepared to respond; • Engage with others who are supportive in the push for gender equity, locally and internationally. The NTEU recognises that while schemes such as champions of change, employer of choice or white ribbon commendations serve a purpose, as does focus upon events such as Equal Pay Day or International Women’s Day, gender equity is about replacing relationships of power with relationships that enable agency.
USING WORKPLACE GENDER EQUITY AGENCY (WGEA) EMPLOYER REPORTS NTEU notes that the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 requires non-public sector employers with 100 or more staff to submit a report to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, between 1 April and 31 May each year, for the preceding 12 month period. Universities are included in this cohort of employers, and as such must provide information, in actual numbers (headcount) on their total workforce – this includes full-time, part-time, casual and temporary staff working for that employer. These annual public reports require employers to report against a set of standardised gender equality indicators which include the gender composition of the workforce and governing bodies of relevant employers. They also report on the availability and utility of employment terms and employment strategies with a focus on gender equity. Employers therefore report, through a gender lens, on conditions and practices as diverse as recruitment, training and promotions, through to flexible working arrangements for employees, support for employees with family or caring responsibilities, and domestic violence leave.
Universities are required to forward to NTEU a copy of their public report. The Union may then review and submit formal comment to the Agency on the accuracy of the reports. The NTEU believes that the data produced by these annual reports is invaluable in terms of tracking the equity policies of the institutions, the gender breakdown of different areas and, most vitally, the levels and gendered nature of insecure employment. Furthermore, as reporting is ongoing there is the opportunity to track the progress of issues of interest to NTEU members at institutional and sectoral levels over time. The NTEU will collate, track and analyse the information provided by the WGEA employer public reports. In order to do this effectively, Branches, with the support of their Divisions, should obtain and review their university’s annual public WGEA reports and forward these, along with any comments regarding the accuracy of the reports, to the National Office. The NTEU will monitor and report on trends emerging in the WGEA public reports for use in research, industrial work, campaigning and recruitment, and lobbying efforts.
SEXIST BEHAVIOUR, SEXUAL HARASSMENT, SEXUAL ASSAULT AND GENDER BASED VIOLENCE POLICY STATEMENT The NTEU recognises that tertiary institutions are not immune to instances of sexist behaviour and attitudes, gender based violence and sexual assaults. The Union also recognises that our institutions operate within a broader culture of gender inequity, sexism, intimidation and discrimination which influences campus life. However, despite the prevalence of on-campus cultures that appear to promote and even enable instances of sexist behaviour, harassment and assault, institutions have been slow to acknowledge and address what is a growing problem, for both staff and students. The NTEU believes that sexist behaviour and attitudes, gender based violence and sexual assaults impact on staff as well as students. Those who perpetrate gender based violence and sexual assault do so because the opportunity arises; it may occur at a campus college, or late at night in a car park, or even a lab or library. This can mean that the staff who work back late, or who have evening classes scheduled, are as much at risk as students in the same situation. The Union will: • • • •
Continue to advocate for universities to better prioritise their handling of sexual assault and violence on campuses. Work to ensure institutions have targeted strategies and policies in place, preferably supported by industrial provisions, that accommodates the entire campus community. Actively support initiatives that will address sexist behaviour, sexual harassment, gender based violence and sexual assault on campuses. Undertake research and/or, where practical, support research into the prevalence, impact and prevention of sexist behaviour, sexual harassment, sexual assault and gender based violence on tertiary education campuses.
This policy should be read in conjunction with the NTEU’s Industrial Policy on Sexual Harassment.
NTEU POLICY STATEMENT ON DISCRIMINATION Since amalgamation, NTEU has taken an unyielding stance on the issue of discrimination, both within the Union workplace, across the Union movement and in society more broadly. While cultural and legislative change has taken place, the need for change continues; as does the need to ensure the highest benchmarks are maintained to guarantee discrimination is not tolerated within the Union workplace and to staunchly advocate that anti-discrimination policies be developed and implemented in the workplaces of our membership. Discrimination may occur in a number of forms and this includes on the basis of: • • • • • • • • • • • •
Age; Disability, including mental or physical impairment; Ethnicity, nationality, descent, national or social origin, language; Family or carer responsibilities; Gender, sex; Marital or relationship status; Membership of a trade union, industrial activity; Political opinion; Pregnancy and breast feeding; Race, colour; Religion; Sexual orientation, intersex or transgender status.
NTEU takes a no-tolerance stance on discrimination in all its forms and therefore endorses the following policy statement: NTEU notes: Discrimination, if allowed to flourish, is insidious, pervasive and vicious. In all its forms, discrimination cannot be sanctioned to thrive, instead discrimination must be challenged and defeated through declarations and deeds. A no-tolerance stance on discrimination must take priority and form the foundations on which all dealings in the professional domain are conducted. In the workplace, discrimination has had detrimental impact upon many. All too often those who experience discrimination at their place of employment feel as though they must accept the discriminatory behaviours of others to simply remain in their position. Those experiencing intolerance, prejudice, bias and hate in the workplace are made to feel as though they are the one who needs to build personal resilience, all the while suffering in silence - masquerading in the professional demeanour expected of them in the workplace. In wider society, discrimination exists today in many forms. One unintended outcome from advances in society has been the ability for discrimination to spread like an illness and impact many who many have never experienced intolerance before. The need to eradicate discrimination is an area that requires immediate and ongoing action; yet as society advances the ability for discrimination to transport and infest itself requires little effort.
NTEU believes: That without concerted, ongoing action, discrimination will remain as the tool of oppression and injustice. In the right for all members of society to be treated with respect and that difference is to be celebrated, rather than derided. That the workplace is sacrosanct and that discrimination in any form must not only be challenged, but prosecuted. All options, from advocacy through to the use industrial instruments, must be utilised to ensure policy development, implementation and compliance with anti-discrimination legislation in all jurisdictions the NTEU has coverage over. NTEU will: •
Maintain for perpetuity, a no-tolerance stance toward discrimination in all its forms
Advocate and take direct action to ensure compliance with anti-discrimination policy and legislation in all jurisdictions NTEU has coverage over.
Develop a specific anti-discrimination training course, ensuring all current and future NTEU staff members are aware of their rights under the relevant anti-discrimination legislation. and
Prosecute breaches of anti-discrimination legislation to the fullest extent.
NTEU POLICY STATEMENT ON RACISM Australia has always been a culturally diverse and multinational continent. In the countless millennia prior to European colonisation, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people and their cultures spanned from what is now known as the South East Cape in Tasmania to the Cape York Peninsular in Far North Queensland and from Cape Bryon in New South Wales to Steep Point in Western Australia; incorporating all lands comprising mainland Australia. At many points since colonisation, Australia had invited many cultures to our shores and strived to ensure those cultural groups and peoples were welcomed and embraced as new Australian citizens. Concurrent to this, the scourge of racism, intolerance, xenophobia and hatred has raised its head impacting the positive agenda of multiculturalism and acceptance. In more recent times this intolerance has found a renewed strength, backed by policies of differing Governments that are founded in fear and ignorance. Racism and intolerance in all their forms - intentional, tacit, casual, are deplorable and unacceptable in Australian society. NTEU is committed to campaign and educate to ensure intolerance based upon an outdated notion of race are subjugated.
Therefore NTEU endorses the following policy statement: NTEU notes: •
Racism is the exercise of power by an individual or an institution.
Racism is committed against another, involving the derogation of another person or community’s inherent humanity.
Racism is grounded in the belief that human communities are constituted with distinctive and specific characteristics.
The exercise of power can be an act of violence or neglect.
The exercise of power is dependent upon the aggressor’s perceived membership of a racial majority and upon an assumed cultural right or privilege.
NTEU believes: That racism is bound to Australia’s colonial past. The physical, legal and constitutional dispossession and violence committed against Australia’s First Peoples is a fundamental characteristic of Australian racism. Racism includes state acts that have legitimated and set communities against one another, particularly white communities against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, migrants, refugees and resident non-citizens. That racism today has evolved with society and that expressions of hate against individuals, groups and communities can be expressed in many varied forms. Structural racism, harassment, vilification, threats of violence (including symbolic violence), as well as racism expressed through tacit or casual acts continue to infiltrated all sections of society, particularly the online environments. Australian trade unions have a complicated presence in Australia’s racist history. Historically, the trade union movement has been inseparable from historic legislative and constitutional acts of discrimination and exclusion, while in recent times, the trade union movement has partnered with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and migrant communities and has been one of the most powerful social forces for international solidarity. That racism is a blight on society and that without concerted ongoing action, racism and intolerance will continue to impact upon those who are or feel as though they are marginalised from wider society. That a multicultural society is to be celebrated and that those who seek to use racism and intolerance to undermine the fabric of our shared community must be held to account. NTEU will:
Maintain for perpetuity, a no-tolerance stance on racism and intolerance.
Partner with like-minded groups and organisations to form public alliances against racism and will actively encourage Universities to participate fully in this mission.
Develop and implement an ongoing campaign to educate, empower and remove the stain of intolerance from Australian society.
Advocate and take action to support the NTEU members and their right to oppose and fight racism in the workplace.
SECTION 7: NTEU INTERNATIONAL POLICY STATEMENT NTEU ACTIVITY IN THE INTERNATIONAL ARENA NTEU affirms Education International’s policy on the critical role that education plays in combating poverty, in promoting peace, social justice, human rights, democracy, cultural diversity and environmental awareness. NTEU believes that education is the key to uniting nations and overcoming divisions between people, societies and cultures. The Union believes that it is important to recognise the crucial role of education in contributing to building a culture of peace. We condemn those instances in which education is undermined in order to attack democracy, equality and human rights. A culture of peace and non-violence goes to the substance of fundamental human rights: social justice, democracy, literacy, respect and dignity for all, international solidarity, emancipation, respect for workers’ rights and core labour standards, children rights, gender equality, cultural identity and diversity, the rights of first nation peoples and minorities, and the preservation of the natural environment. A society that, at its core, values and promotes teaching and education, has a direct and positive impact on these fundamental human rights and social justice issues. NTEU notes that higher education (and universities in particular) have long been an international public good based on the free movement and exchange of ideas, research, staff and students. Universities are increasingly exposed to trade, market and commercial pressures, and globalisation has encouraged national governments to privatise public universities and colleges, and to remove barriers to foreign investment and trade in education services. NTEU notes that the privatisation and commercialisation of further and higher education continues to expand in Australia and globally with consequent exacerbation of class, race, cultural, and gender inequalities, which run contrary to the purported purpose of expanding access to decent education as a major contributor to increased universal equality, prosperity and peace. For Australian universities internationalisation has meant the rapid expansion of offshore campuses and facilities, and a growing (and unhealthy) dependence on overseas student fee income. The rapid commercial growth of Australian international education has industrial and policy implications for NTEU members, as well as having potentially adverse consequences for the development of strong, domestic higher education systems in the poorer countries of the Asia-Pacific region. Council also notes that NTEU’s commitment to the defense of academic, trade union and human rights requires an international perspective given the widespread abuse of these rights in many universities and countries around the world. Council recognises that NTEU opposition to free trade in education and research services is based not only on the interests of Australian universities and their staff, but also on the interests of universities and university staff in poorer and developing countries. Council directs the National Executive and Officers to further expand and develop NTEU’s international work, with a specific brief to:
Monitor Australian universities’ offshore activities, including the policy and industrial implications for NTEU members and for host countries.
Monitor and respond to abuses of academic freedom, trade union and human rights in universities in the major regions of the world, and maintain affiliations with relevant international organisations including the, Scholars at Risk and Amnesty International.
Develop international networks of higher education unions, particularly in the AsiaPacific region and through Education International.
Contribute to the global and Australian trade union response to free trade and globalisation.
Campaign to exclude education and research services from transnational and bilateral trade agreements; and to develop alternative non-market forms of transnational higher education provision.
UNION AID ABROAD (APHEDA) The NTEU proudly supports and endorses the work of Union Aid Abroad (APHEDA) by: •
Including the option to make an ongoing contribution on the NTEU membership form;
Actively promoting Union Aid Abroad nationally and through divisions and branches, including supporting events, membership drives and appointing Union Aid Abroad advocates; and
Supporting the SkillsLink program run by Union Aid Abroad (APHEDA), via the provision of an annual block grant to an approved APHEDA project. The amount of the annual block grant will be determined by the National Executive.
NTEU AFFILIATION TO EDUCATION INTERNATIONAL NTEU is proudly affiliated to Education International (EI), noting that:
EI is the world’s largest trade union federation comprising 401 organisations from 170 countries with a combined membership of 32 million, of which over 2 million are in the higher education sector.
Higher education is a very active component of EI’s membership and that NTEU, together with a number of sister organisations, will continue to take a leading role in organising and maintaining the international Further and Higher Education and Research Caucus and the associated campaigns and policy work undertaken by EI.
NTEU will continue to contribute to EI’s Development Cooperation work, which is designed to assist in the creation and/or capacity building, of independent and democratic education unions in emerging and developing countries. NTEU and several sister organisations will focus upon supporting the development and capacity building of unions covering higher education and research workers.
NTEU will continue to actively engage in and monitor the progress of implementation of an Indigenous ad hoc committee to make recommendations to the EI Executive Board on implementing EI’s policies on the education and social rights of Indigenous
peoples, noting that EI Executive Board has been very slow to implement this commitment. INTERNATIONAL TRADE AGREEMENTS Higher education, specifically through universities, anchors the international exchange of educational goods and services, exemplified through the free movement of ideas, research, staff and students. There has been an acceleration of non-comprehensive bilateral and regional arrangements that compromises the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) role, and places greater trade pressures on developing nations. We observe with concern the power of trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in impairing its own member states from enacting legislation in the public interest. Australia’s growing interest in the negotiation of bilateral and plurilateral trade agreements. Australia has seven Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, US, Chile, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Malaysia. Furthermore, the architecture for trade liberalisation has been aimed through the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) across the Pacific Rim and negotiations around the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) has sought to offset the stalled DOHA round negotiations in the WTO. NTEU affirms that: Support for international trade in educational goods and services is couched in the view that higher education institutions create a wide range of public goods that are essential to public welfare in the national as well as global sense. The greater availability of post-secondary higher education as one of the most powerful forces for tackling global social inequality. Support for international trade in general is framed by the principles of fair trade. Fair trade means the role international trade regimes can play in the reduction of poverty, the implementation of human rights, labour and environmental standards, and the entrenchment of transparency measures in commercial and financial practices. NTEU has a role in contributing to the global and Australian trade union response to free trade and globalisation. NTEU calls upon the Australian government to commit to the following in its negotiation of all future international trade agreements:
To not make any additional commitments on public education or education services through the WTO, any iteration of GATS through the TISA negotiations, or in any other trade agreement.
Where possible improve the language related to ‘public’ services and public education to ensure the meaning of phrases such as ‘services provided in the exercise of governmental authority’ cannot be narrowly defined to exclude higher education that have elements of both public and private provision.
To negotiate carve outs and exclusions from any trade agreement that can impact upon an existing or future Australian government, state, Federal or local, to legislate or regulate in the public interest.
Recognise enforceable labour standards in all trade negotiations. These standards must include the International Labour Organisation (ILO) core standards of freedom of association, right to collective bargaining, elimination of discrimination, prohibition of forced and child labour.
Not include in any trade agreement ISDS provisions, or any other non-specific dispute settlement provisions, that enable foreign companies to sue the Commonwealth in a jurisdiction beyond Australia’s sovereign reach.
Improve Australian laws to ensure treaty and trade agreement processes deliver greater transparency and accountability to the Australian people.
NTEU will: •
Work collaboratively with other unions and student organisations in Australia and internationally (e.g. through Education International).
Campaign for the exclusion (or carve out) of education from any iteration of an existing agreement or any future trade agreement that potentially undermines the public character of the provision of higher education, including in relation to the TPP and TISA.
Oppose any trade agreement that directly or indirectly limits the ability of an existing or future Australian government, state, Federal or local, from legislating or regulating in the public interest.
Oppose any trade agreement which directly or indirectly seeks to leverage unfair trade practices over developing nations.
Publicise developments in these areas with the NTEU membership and more broadly.
Lobby government and political parties.
Support local and community campaigns that seek to improve transparency and accountability in the Australian government’s negotiation of trade agreements.
PRIVATISATION OF EDUCATION AND FOR-PROFIT EDUCATIONAL BUSINESSES Noting that:
Private interests and free marketeers are increasing pressures for privatisation and commercialisation of higher education in Australia and internationally.
The corporate education sector is seeking access to the estimated $5 trillion global ‘education market’, whether through direct provision, contracting-out or user-pays.
The corporate privatisation and commodification strategy in education is led by its largest player, Pearson Education, which is shaping the global debate around 107
education and learning policy and benignly describes itself as a ‘global learning services company’. •
Education International has prioritised fighting/challenging commercialisation and privatisation at all levels of education and is conducting an international campaign to expose, challenge and delegitimise the strategies of education corporates.
NTEU supports publicly-funded free education as a fundamental human right and a key foundation for social equity and social justice in Australia and internationally.
NTEU will continue to support Education International’s work in this area and will seek opportunities to give assistance to the EI campaigns on this issue: The National Office will continue to keep Branches informed of these issues through means articles in the Advocate and the website, media releases on specific abuses or incidents revealing the modus operandi of Pearson and others, and supporting members’ forums on the topic; and §
The National Office will provide assistance to Branches in informing members of the role of Pearson and others, through holding on-campus forums, disseminating relevant information, and other appropriate means.
Where Pearson has an existing relationship with a university (such as partnering a university in designing or delivering coursework, or in co-managing a college) Branches will implement local campaigns. These campaigns will seek to raise awareness of the negative effects of for-profit businesses on education worldwide.
Where universities already have a relationship with Pearson or similar entities, Branches should campaign for the following: o o o
Transparency. Contracts with private entities should be made publicly available. Protection of university data: data should not be made available to private entities. Protection of university intellectual property. Intellectual property generated by the work of university staff should not be made available to private entities.
Where it becomes apparent that universities are contemplating a relationship with Pearson or a similar entity, Branches should campaign against this. Such relationships might include: introduction of Pearson testing systems; introduction of Pearson professional development packages (replacing those tailored by staff of the university for other staff of the institution); collaboration in development or delivery of course material.
NTEU POLICY MANUAL 2017 INDEX A
ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER POLICY, 19 ACADEMIC SPECIAL STUDIES LEAVE, 42 ACCESS TO UNION RESOURCES AND REIMBURSEMENTS FOR CASUAL NTEU MEMBER ACTIVISTS, 17 Annual Leave, 35 APPROVAL OF ENTERPRISE AGREEMENTS, 25
GENDER EQUITY POLICY STATEMENT, 93 GENERAL GOVERNANCE AND ADMINISTRATION, 4
H HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING, 68 HUMAN RIGHTS, 90
CAMPAIGN, ORGANISING, RECRUITMENT AND ASSISTANCE TO MEMBERS POLICY STATEMENT, 7 CLIMATE CHANGE, 91 CODES OF CONDUCT, 33 COGNITIVE COMPUTING AND THE FUTURE OF WORK IN HIGHER EDUCATION, 67 COMMUNICATIONS, 11
ILL-HEALTH TERMINATION, 34 INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE IN ENTERPRISE AGREEMENTS, 25 INDUSTRIAL ASSISTANCE FOR MEMBERS, 9 INDUSTRIAL ASSISTANCE FOR PEOPLE JOINING WITH A PRE-EXISTING WORKPLACE ISSUE, 9 INDUSTRIAL DEFENCE FUND, 29 INDUSTRIAL FRAMEWORK AND LEGISLATION, 22 INTELLECTUAL AND ACADEMIC FREEDOM, 53 INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, 59 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION, 80 INTERNATIONAL ENGAGEMENT, 81 INTERNATIONAL TRADE AGREEMENTS, 102
D DEFENCE TRADE CONTROLS, 80 DISPUTES, 27 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND THE WORKPLACE, 41
EDUCATION AND TEACHING IN HIGHER EDUCATION, 62 ENTERPRISE BARGAINING, 24 ENVIRONMENT, 91 ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY, 50 ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY CAMPAIGNING IN UNIVERSITIES, 92 EQUITY, 87 ETHICAL INVESTMENTS, 6 ETHICAL SOURCING AND INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY, 6
Legal and Industrial Assistance, 28 Long Service Leave, 38
M MARRIAGE EQUALITY, 90 MEMBER TO MEMBER DISPUTES, 30 MEMBERSHIP GROWTH AND RECRUITMENT, 8 METRICS, 35
NTEU ACTIVITY IN THE INTERNATIONAL ARENA, 100 NTEU AFFILIATION TO EDUCATION INTERNATIONAL, 101 NTEU GOVERNANCE FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION POLICY STATEMENT, 2
FREE TERTIARY EDUCATION, 68 FREEDOM OF COMMUNICATION, 58 FREEDOM OF INFORMATION, 58
NTEU HIGHER EDUCATION AND RESEARCH POLICY STATEMENT, 52 NTEU INDUSTRIAL MATTERS POLICY 2017, 22 NTEU POLICY STATEMENT ON DISCRIMINATION, 96 NTEU POLICY STATEMENT ON RACISM, 97 NTEU PRIORITIES 2017-2018, 15 NTEU SCHOLARSHIPS POLICY STATEMENT, 14 NTEU SUPPORT OF RIGHTS OF PEOPLE OF DIVERSE SEXUALITIES AND GENDERS, 89 NUCLEAR NON PROLIFERATION, 91
RESEARCH PRINCIPLES AND FUNDING, 71 ROLE AND OBJECTS OF NTEU, 2
S SALARIES AND REMUNERATION, 45 SECURITY OF EMPLOYMENT, 26 SEXIST BEHAVIOUR, SEXUAL HARASSMENT, SEXUAL ASSAULT AND GENDER BASED VIOLENCE POLICY STATEMENT, 95 SEXUAL HARASSMENT, 43 Strategic Litigation, 27 STRUCTURE OF THE NTEU, 3 SUPERANNUATION, 47
O OPPOSITION TO ISLAMOPHOBIA, 90
UNION AID ABROAD (APHEDA), 101 UNION EDUCATION AND TRAINING POLICY STATEMENT, 13 UNION RIGHTS AND RESOURCES, 48 UNIVERSITY REGULATION AND GOVERNANCE, 82
PAID LEAVE ENTITLEMENTS, 35 Parental Leave, 39 PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL AND DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES, 31 Personal Leave, 37 PRIVATISATION OF EDUCATION AND FORPROFIT EDUCATIONAL BUSINESSES, 103
WOMEN IN THE NTEU, 87 WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY, 42 WORKPLACE BULLYING, 44 WORKPLACE DELEGATES, 10 WORKPLACE GENDER EQUITY AGENCY (WGEA) EMPLOYER REPORTS, 94
QUALITY PUBLIC TERTIARY EDUCATION, 52
R REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS, 90