The New South Wales (NSW) condition division of the Nationwide Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), the main trade union covering university staff members, held a meant on the internet “forum” final Friday.
The celebration furnished a revealing image of an organisation that is more and more discredited in the eyes of college staff, and desperately hoping to block any real debate about the historic and deepening federal government-administration offensive in opposition to the employment and ailments of staff and students.
Regardless of the event staying billed as a statewide “forum,” NTEU associates and all other employees individuals have been prevented from speaking. Even the chat functionality was disabled to make interaction impossible in between participants.
Any comments or queries that participants asked could be witnessed only by the union officers. Just a choose couple ended up study out, none of them crucial of the union.
This requires to a new degree the anti-democratic techniques utilised by the NTEU, and all unions, for a long time to thrust by way of “enterprise bargaining” agreements, which companies have conveniently utilized to attack workers’ wages and ailments, significantly casualise the workforce and change the universities into companies serving the needs of the company elite.
Whilst suppressing all discussion, the NTEU officials promoted the fraud that a further spherical of union-administration company bargaining (negotiations at personal workplaces) could be made use of to reverse the mounting assault on college workers.
In actuality, NTEU branches are proposing obscure logs of promises that are built to fulfill the escalating needs of managements. For case in point, the College of Sydney log phone calls for “enforceable protections from excessive work” without defining what is “excessive.” The function of these logs is to deepen the union’s relationship with administration, as a new wave of attacks on college staff is applied.
Members of the Committee for General public Education and learning (CFPE) demanded to know why the chat experienced been disabled. A single requested: “Are college staff not authorized to have open up discussion?”
CFPE customers denounced company bargaining, and the NTEU’s attempt to cover up its portion in opposing any unified struggle towards the avalanche of job destruction considering that the COVID-19 pandemic began. “Why aren’t you telling workers the real truth about the NTEU’s position?” 1 asked.
On casualisation, a member asked: “Why isn’t the union calling for personnel to be made long term and having up a battle in opposition to insecure get the job done?”
All these thoughts were blocked from view, and not answered, with each other with any other significant comments.
The major report, sent by NSW NTEU division secretary Damien Cahill, claimed that organization bargaining was “our possibility to start off to construct much better universities.”
The truth is that, 3 many years back, the Keating Labor govt and the unions labored hand in glove to impose business bargaining. Considering that then, it has been the main system as a result of which administration and the unions have collaborated to put into practice the professional-current market restructuring of the tertiary instruction sector.
Cahill commenced by underplaying the assault on university workers because the commence of 2020, indicating “thousands of university staff throughout the place have missing their work opportunities.” By the NTEU’s very own estimates up to 90,000 employment, counting these of casuals, had been wrecked previous calendar year by yourself, and the career losses have continued this yr. This degree of position destruction is unparalleled in the Australian tertiary training sector.
This would not have been probable with no the complicity of the NTEU. In May past calendar year, immediately after weeks of closed-doorway talks with businesses, and without any session with members, the NTEU proposed a misnamed “job protection framework” that volunteered wages cuts of up to 15 p.c and the destruction of up to 18,000 jobs.
Outraged responses by workers pressured the employers and NTEU to withdraw the framework, but the union then bulldozed by offers with person managements to achieve their charge-slicing requires. They utilised the a variety of “change management” and “consultation” clauses in business agreements.
Cahill promoted union-management committees, “where team can have a genuine say and be certain that our legal rights are currently being enforced.” But he failed to make clear why the current committees experienced unsuccessful to do that. The genuine goal of these joint committees is to further integrate the union into the professional-business restructuring getting carried out by governments and university administrations.
Talking in the language of administration, Cahill reported the pandemic experienced exposed the “unsustainable funding design at the heart of universities,” but did not elaborate.
In 2013, the last Labor Get together federal federal government slice college funding by $2.3 billion. This was the ultimate instalment of Labor’s “education revolution,” which the NTEU thoroughly supported.
Universities turned to full payment-shelling out international college students to stay afloat. Managements now assert that the decline of intercontinental college student enrolments, since the pandemic commenced, demands essential restructuring actions. In reality, this has only accelerated the assault on tertiary education.
Cahill still left the doorway open up to continuing casualisation, stating that informal contracts ought to be made use of, “only when the perform is genuinely everyday in mother nature.”
As the NTEU regularly does, Cahill reiterated the anti-strike clauses of the Reasonable Do the job legislation, stating: “Union users, and only union users, also have the appropriate to choose shielded industrial action in pursuit of a new company settlement, should really that be necessary.” These laws had been applied by the Rudd Labor governing administration in 2009, with the entire assistance of the unions.
Cahill consistently referred to as on individuals to be a part of the NTEU. But why be a part of an organisation that censors its associates and suppresses opposition to restructuring?
The CFPE is preventing for the institution of a community of rank-and-file committees, to unify workers and college students in opposition to the cuts, and to connection up with personnel nationally and internationally. CFPE customers were blocked from placing the adhering to resolution to the NTEU discussion board:
That this conference:
1. Rejects the management-union “enterprise bargaining” approach as absolutely nothing but a decades-old car for imposing further professional-enterprise restructuring and cuts to careers and conditions at universities across the place.
2. Provides whole help to the campaign taken up by pupils in opposition to the retrenchment of substantially-appreciated educators and devastating study course cuts at Macquarie, Monash, La Trobe, Adelaide and the University of Western Australia, and undertakes to broaden their struggle throughout the place and internationally.
3. Condemns the meant “resounding success” secured by the NTEU at the University of Queensland, which included convincing five academics to get “voluntary redundancies,” so permitting administration to apply its price tag-chopping and suppress resistance to its primary “spill and fill” approach to axe two work.
4. Opposes and rejects the NTEU’s proposals for equivalent processes of consultation and appeals at other universities, which also provide only to block any genuine combat in opposition to the work opportunities onslaught and professional-organization restructuring.
5. Calls for a unified struggle by college employees and pupils in opposition to the offensive by govt and management, who are exploiting the worsening world COVID-19 disaster to accelerate decades of the transformation of universities into progressively casualised businesses, servicing the slim vocational and investigate needs of the corporate elite, at the expense of authentic instruction. The continued pandemic disaster has resulted from the capitalist push to reopen the economic climate and is not the fault of educators, who should not be produced to spend for it.
6. Calls for that, rather of massive company currently being bailed out with billions of bucks, and billions a lot more staying handed to the armed forces to prepare for war, assets be poured into healthcare and instruction funding, to guard the populace from COVID-19 and warranty the simple social correct to absolutely free, to start with-class instruction for all learners, which include worldwide students, and secure jobs for all college personnel.
7. Calls for the establishment of rank-and-file action committees of tertiary training personnel and students—independent of the NTEU, governments and businesses. These are essential to (1) organise a unified battle from the destruction of careers and simple rights, (2) shield college employees and learners from unsafe COVID-19 disorders and (3) hyperlink up with workers internationally who are dealing with related critical struggles in opposition to the affect of the worsening international capitalist crisis.