Universities students and staff will vote with their feet

Posted on September 5, 2017

The union says Western Australia's Murdoch University may well regret the day it abandoned its existing agreement with staff as the Turnbull Government prepares to try to slash universities funding.

Together Branch Secretary Alex Scott said today, "Universities staff are trained professionals who are contributing to a world class product that is drawing students from across the globe. Universities students and staff will continue to choose well resourced, properly structured institutions with a corporate outlook with its foundations in good faith.

"This Turnbull government has failed to make the case that higher education will be clearly better off if they can make sky-high cuts to university subsidies and we are not the only people who are saying so."

The union says Murdoch University blinked when it should have thought twice after the Turnbull government started tilting for unprecedented cuts to higher education that are yet to clear the federal parliament. The Turnbull government substituted a 20 per cent cut to Australia’s universities funding* with a 4.9 per cent cut^ and thought it was a good day's work.

"We are currently in bargaining with six other universities and our members are pleased to be working constructively in talks with the employers," Mr Scott said.

Negotiations are proceeding with Queensland University of Technology, The University of Queensland, James Cook University, Central Queensland University, Griffith University and University of Southern Queensland.

"There is a better way than the Murdoch University way and that’s about unions and members working constructively with the higher education sector and not falling for the Turnbull agenda which is, sadly, what has happened at Murdoch," Mr Scott said.

"The Murdoch University way is an example of what the Turnbull government envisaged, it's not part of our vision and our members condemn the decision and distance ourselves from it as an example of best practice.

"It is a sad day when a federal government is implicitly encouraging the university sector to consider an aggressive and short-sighted strategy of breaking faith with staff.

"Universities staff have long memories and we can find no record of this Turnbull government bothering to consult across the entire universities workforce. We’re calling on this Turnbull government to go back to the drawing board and clean up its mess."

*The Australian newspaper, April 12, 2017
^The Financial Review newspaper, Thursday August 31, 2017

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