||Issue No. 313||30 June 2006|
Interview: Rock Solid
Industrial: Eight Simple Rules for Employing My Teenage Daughter
Politics: The Johnnie Code
Energy: Fission Fantasies
History: All The Way With Clarrie O'Shea
International: Closer to Home
Economics: Taking the Fizz
Unions: Stronger Together
Review: Montezuma's Revenge
Poetry: Fair Go Gone
The Locker Room
Dare To Dream
Better Get A Lawyer
The Last Laugh
Ballarat Derails AWA Push
So much so, that the University has agreed to protect AWA staff through “policy” to ensure they aren't disadvantaged.
The in-principle agreement came, last Friday, ending an aggressive two and a half year campaign to force staff onto AWAs.
Key improvements over the individual contracts, forced on all new starters, include:
- guaranteed wage movements to March, 2008, of 18 percent, against 13.5 to March, 2009, in the individual contracts. The uni had made the other 4.5 contingent on revenue outcomes
- sign-on bonuses averaging $3,027 against back pay averaging $1509
- retention of independent dispute resolution procedures, against the removal of appeal rights
- 26 weeks paid maternity leave, against 14 weeks
- a clause that ensures staff have choice between collective and individual contracts, against the standard denial inherent in AWAs
NTEU Victorian secretary, Matthew McGowan, hailed the breakthrough in the highly-publicised case as "extremely encouraging".
"It's a 180 degree turn around from where we were three months ago," McGowan said.
"It's important to recognise that university management, after pursuing an aggressive course, realised the importance of dealing fairly with their staff.
"They deserve some recognition for finally sitting down and working through the issues.'
Ballarat hit the headlines when vice-chancellor, Kerry Cox, took it on himself to run federal government's ideological line.
Cox forced no-choice AWAs onto new starters and threatened existing staff if they didn't sign individual contracts, by his deadlines, all offers would be withdrawn.
McGowan said those factors would see university unions argue that all staff should now be allowed to choose whether or not they wished to move to the union-negotiated deal.
"Absolutely," he confirmed. "If this is really about genuine choice people should have the option about coming back to the collective."
Approximately 450 Ballarat employees held out for the collective agreement, while around 280 have signed AWAs.
During the heated dispute, Cox played the role of a WorkChoices jibberer, mouthing lines that were either meaningless or misleading.
Examples included his January 23 statement, celebrating the first batch of AWAs being sent to the Office of the Employment Advocate for registration.
"It is very pleasing that the benefits flowing from significant sustainable salary rises and improved conditions are now available to staff entirely under a freedom-of-choice proposal," he said in a vice-chancellor's office press release.
"Our self-reliance is being modelled through the entire organisation."
On Janurary 19, he was assuring the press staff would be "better off" under AWAs.
"The university's only recourse to exercise its duty of care to staff has been through AWAs, which provide very significantly improved conditions of service and salary levels for staff," Cox claimed.
Workers Online does not suggest that Cox was at the time, or ever had been, in any way involved with the University of Ballarat's English faculty.
Cox shot through in April, leaving the University facing a multi-million dollar class action.
McGowan confirmed the case, alleging the university misled people over its AWA offers, was still being pursued in the federal court.
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