Ms HARTLAND (Western Metropolitan) – My question today is for Minister Tierney, and I am asking this question on behalf of a friend of mine, Paul Adams. Victoria University (VU) has targeted Paul Adams, David Garland and Stuart Martin, all local officials of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), for dismissal. This comes just before the start of negotiations on the enterprise contract. VU`s behavior over the past few months regarding the way they handled the layoffs has been quite brutal. My question is: what do you think the Land government can do to put an end to the VU`s anti-union tactics? Vice Chancellor Peter Dawkins yesterday warned university staff that the VU is expected to reduce „about” 190 RTD over the next 18 months to address losses caused by COVID-19. But employees who agree to a „change to the company agreement” could reduce the reduction to „no more than 100 FTEs,” which „will hopefully be possible through a voluntary departure program and other balanced employment-related reductions.” VU management has been actively pursuing a non-union agreement for almost 12 months. They tore up the existing union agreement and their proposals, if accepted, would reduce the working conditions of university staff in areas such as consultation and the ability to challenge dismissal to a minimum of fair work. Professor Dawkins did not describe what should vary in the EE, but last week he mentioned discussions with the National Union of Higher Education on a framework for job protection. (MWC 6 August). He said yesterday: „I will inform you as soon as possible if we believe that a change to the company agreement will be feasible.” Tierney (Minister of Education and Qualifications) — I thank the hon. member for her question and for her continued interest in Victoria University.
As the hon. member knows, industrial relations matters dealt with at the university fall within the competence of the university, and the Victorian government`s industrial relations policy does not cover the university as such. I remember that, compared to the current agreement, it expires later this year, and in the current agreement there is the provision for changes and layoffs and such issues that Ms. Hartland mentioned with respect to those who are having difficulty with their employment at Victoria University. Members of the National Union of Higher Education and staff at Victoria University in Melbourne have rejected a second electronic vote on the non-unionized company agreement proposed by management. .