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Issue #1602      July 17, 2013

Deakin staff reject pay offer

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has rejected Deakin University’s proposed salary increase of just 3% a year over 4 years. “Staff are not about to get excited just because the Vice-Chancellor has opened her purse and rattled a few coins,” said Dr Colin Long, NTEU Victorian Division secretary, and member of the Deakin bargaining team.

“Staff expect a realistic offer that both protects their existing working conditions and recognises their work in generating record profits for the institution.”

An analysis of Deakin’s annual reports by the NTEU reveals a university with extremely strong income, profits and operating cash flows, and high holdings of cash and investments.

“The university recorded a 2012 surplus of $108.9 million,” Dr Long said. “The university’s holdings of cash and investments were at a record level of $337.7 million at the end of 2012.

“The Deakin Vice-Chancellor pockets $750,000, a quarter of a million dollars more than the salary of the Australian Prime Minister. The top ten earners at Deakin reward themselves with salaries totalling $4.1 million.

“These are the people who think a 3% salary offer to the average Deakin worker is generous,” Dr Long said, “The average Deakin worker is angry that the hard work they put in every day is somehow lost in the minds of the millionaire bosses.”

He said that deakin staff won’t accept that they have to absorb federal funding cuts, especially given the record profits that their work generates. Staff won’t accept cuts to working conditions such as redundancy provisions that make it easier to sack people, watered down grievance procedures or limited attempts to address insecure work.

“We are also extremely angry that Deakin management has not taken seriously our demand to reduce the level of academic casualisation. Offering six fixed-terms contracts and six ongoing positions when there are hundreds of casual staff struggling to make a living at Deakin is insulting.

“The NTEU takes seriously the need to improve teaching quality by reduced academic casualisation and improved workforce planning, even if management doesn’t.”

The current collective agreement expired a year ago. Deakin staff have been negotiating a new collective agreement with management for over eight months. Staff are implementing industrial actions including a ban on the transmission of results, with industrial action set to escalate if an agreement is not made soon.   

Next article – Cheap groceries costing the earth

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