Union takes action

• NTEU members on the streets on Sunday. Photo by Steve Grant.

NEGOTIATIONS over a new enterprise agreement have broken down with Notre Dame university, says the National Tertiary Education Union.

About 15 NTEU members handed out flyers during the uni’s open day on Sunday, outlining concerns about workloads, pay, academic freedom and health and safety.

NTEU WA assistant secretary Richard Hamilton said negotiations over a workload agreement had become bogged down in endless consultation.

“The workload model was first raised in 2007 and they have consulted and consulted, but it’s now been so long that it’s not the same body of staff that they actually consulted with,” Dr Hamilton said.

He said a staff freeze had mostly affected administrative workers, who’d had to juggled extra tasks, but academic staff were also struggling.

“We have some casual staff doing 20 hours face-to-face teaching, which is equivalent to a full-time high school teacher.”

Dr Hamilton said some members were working in mouldy rooms, but the allowance for being on a safety committee was a quarter of the national average for universities.

The NTEU is also asking for academic freedom to be enshrined, saying a statement of support the uni operated by was a good start but lacked teeth.

Dr Hamilton said one staff member had faced a concerted attack from the Jewish lobby after describing Israel as an apartheid state.

NDA’s head of campus and pro vice chancellor Selma Alliex said regular meetings would continue next week to further negotiations around the enterprise agreement.

“We believe the parties are getting closer to a resolution on these matters, and therefore, so as not to prejudice these discussions, the university will not be providing public comment for the time being while negotiations remain ongoing,” Prof Alliex said.

“The University of course values its staff members and is working to ensure their interests are taken into account under the new agreement.”

Disclaimer: Steve Grant has done sessional tutoring with NDA but is not currently engaged by the uni.

by STEVE GRANT

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