University of Melbourne Rejects National Jobs Protection Framework

20 May 2020

The University of Melbourne will not participate in the National Jobs Protection Framework as proposed by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), describing it as a “complex, bureaucratic mechanism” in an email to staff on Friday. 

The Framework, not yet endorsed by NTEU members, was proposed to protect jobs which are under threat from the projected revenue losses of up to $4.6 billion across all universities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In exchange for the protection of jobs, the Framework would support universities seeking variations to Enterprise Bargaining Agreements, including temporary cuts in staff pay and conditions.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the University said the administration “has determined that it is not in the best interests of the University and its workforce to accept the arrangements set out in the framework and will not participate”.

“The proposed framework contains provisions that it has no interest in pursuing—such as forced stand downs, forced leave, forced reduction of hours, large pay cuts of up to 15 per cent and deferral of incremental progression… there is no value in asking staff to vote on changes to employment conditions that it has no intention of making.”

The NTEU responded today, and said, “The University of Melbourne has opted out, stating that it doesn’t need to use the provisions in the Framework to deal with its budget shortfall. But in the same email… it stated that the University has a $400 million budget shortfall this year”.

“One can only assume that the University will likely terminate its casual and fixed term staff and probably institute voluntary and compulsory redundancies.”

The proposal has faced an “unprecedented level of opposition” from NTEU members, according to NTEU National Councillor and University of Melbourne staff member Katie Wood. 

The NTEU has been contacted for another upcoming article on casual staffing.


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