UniMelb NTEU serves Vice-Chancellor log of claims

Key demands include an end to casualisation and pay increases above inflation.

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has served the University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell with an “ambitious” log of claims as part of Enterprise Bargaining negotiations, according to a press release from the Union this morning. 

The log of claims was approved last week at meetings attended by over 500 NTEU members.

The Union is demanding a pay rise of either 15 per cent by December 2024 or Consumer Price Index (CPI) + 1.5 per cent per annum, whichever is greater. This exceeds the pay increases achieved by staff at Western Sydney University earlier this month, which did not match inflation, but remains less than the USyd NTEU’s claim of CPI + 2.5 per cent per annum.

The log of claims also aims to limit the insecurity experienced by staff as a result of restructures. It calls for no forced redundancies and for no staff to be subjected to multiple workplace restructures over the lifetime of the agreement. NTEU UniMelb Branch President Annette Herrera described restructures in recent years as making “unnecessary cuts” to professional staff “to the detriment of all staff and the morale of our colleagues”.

Casualisation is unsurprisingly a key concern of UniMelb staff, particularly in the context of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s legal action, commencing today, against the University of Melbourne for wage theft from two casuals in the School of Education. 

The Union is demanding at least 80 per cent of staff be enrolled in permanent roles, which Herrera described as “declaring war on the never ending short term contracts that keep so many of our staff on a never-ending hamster wheel of insecure work.” 

As part of this demand, the log of claims advocates for casual contracts only being used for short term ad hoc work. It further calls for limitations on the use of fixed-term contracts, a major cause of job insecurity for staff. 

Like the USyd log of claims, the Union is also aiming to secure protections for trans and First Nations staff, including 30 days of gender affirmation leave and cultural safety training for all staff.

Herrera said the agreement reflects the interests of staff: “Staff from across the university have been active in putting together the claims they want to fight for. It’s clear, staff want to transform this university to one that all staff and workers deserve.”