Union Boss Unger Quits

30 September 2011

The CEO of the student union’s corporate arm, Clemens Unger, has resigned after a six-week leave of absence.

A letter to staff dated 31 August informed them that he had resigned for “personal reasons”, effective five days earlier. The letter also stated that Trevor White, who has acted as CEO during Unger’s leave has been appointed as interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found.

Mu Unger, who only arrived in October of last year, famously told Farrago that his “dream, and vision, would be to make the campus for Melbourne [University] the Parkville destination…in terms of retail, entertainment, and hospitality”.

In the same interview he mentioned his plans for the Rowden White Library. “The Rowdy, for instance…I like that Borders principle that the bookshop also has a coffee shop in there,” he said.

The news comes as the student union’s corporate arm finally disclosed financial details of the jobs and services it plans to cut, but only after mediation at the industrial relations umpire.

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) took the Melbourne University Student Union Limited (MUSUL) to Fair Work Australia on August 16 and reached an agreement that MUSUL would provide further information to its staff.

The information included usage and communications data, as well as profit and loss figures for the services which will be cut if the proposal remains unchanged, which include the Arts Lab, Functions and Uni Store. The information, which is confidential, was provided to MUSUL staff and, some days later, to Student Office Bearer. Farrago has received advice that to publish the figures would leave the publication open to legal action.

“It’s not everything we wanted,” NTEU Branch Industrial Organiser Corey Rabaut said. “We wanted modelling of the cost and budget.”

The NTEU asked for financial projections based on both current and proposed staff numbers, to ensure savings were being made. Mr Rabaut said he hoped that MUSUL has at least conducted that modelling.

The rationale for not released that financial information is that it would be commercial-in-confidence issue. That is, “it’s to the detriment of the business if they ut some of that information out there,” Mr Rabaut said.

Former MUSUL board member, and current acting MUSUL CEO, Trevor White, said that MUSUL respect the NTEU’s right to take them to Fair Work, but also believed that change is a necessary part of any organisations operations.

“THere’s always change in an organisation. If you think that organisations should just stay static for the next 100 years, it doesn’t just happen, so we need to change and we need to make sure the process is correct, that the staff are informed,” Mr White said.

Mr White said that tMUSUL has to consider the financial constraints that exist in ay organisation and that some staff accepted the reasons for change.

“There are quite difference opinions amongst the staff. Some staff can see the need for it and free with it and some staff have difficult and don’t see the need for it,” Mr White said.

The MUSUL board of directors will meet on 20 September to finalise the proposed job and service cuts.

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