Removing legal duty to conclude could end collective agreements

Posted By TEU on Sep 27, 2012 |

Tertiary Update Vol 15 No 34

A government proposal to remove the duty on employers to conclude bargaining might sound like a minor matter but it is vitally important, according to TEU president-elect Lesley Francey.

“The result will be more people on individual employment agreements against their will. They will have less bargaining power and lower wages and salaries.”

The current law says refusing to conclude employment negotiations without genuine reason is a breach of good faith. The government’s new proposal would remove the need to have a genuine reason in order to refuse to conclude bargaining.

Lesley Francey says that once an employer refuses to conclude bargaining, and the existing collective agreement expires, all those employees on that agreement will go onto individual agreements even if that is not what they want.

At some tertiary institutions, where employment negotiations have been especially protracted and difficult, such as the University of Auckland, Wintec, Unitec, Whitireia, CPIT and Northtec, this would allow the employer to simply walk away from negotiations for no reason, and refuse to engage with TEU any further.

“Union-negotiated collective agreements are crucial for employees who want regular, fair salary increases and safe places of work. This law is a deliberate attempt by the government to make it harder for unions and their members to negotiate fair collective agreements,” said Lesley Francey.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. No evidence to support employment law changes
  2. Charter schools forums at Unis
  3. $30 million public money spent on advertising
  4. Quebec: New govt to scrap tuition fee increases and anti-protest bill

Other news

The matter between the Tertiary Education Union and the Vice Chancellor regarding his breach of the Academic Collective Agreement will go to mediation under the auspices of the Employment Authority. The date is set for next Wednesday 3 October. A team including the union’s solicitor, members who were involved in the facilitated bargaining last year, organisers, and the branch co-president Paul Taillon will represent the TEU members – TEU Auckland Branch

“In summary, then, TEC proposes to publish information about your performance in 2010 and 2011, and make decisions for future funding, on the basis of a method that seems was not to have been notified until September 2012. The scary thing, though, is that TEC has not published a Youth Guarantee Handbook for 2012 and has yet to finalise how 2012 performance will be measured.” – Richard Hamilton-Williams  via ED Blog

Māori Into Tertiary Education project leader Maria Paenga thinks the University of Auckland’s move from Glen Innes to Newmarket is a move in the wrong direction. Her research indicates that to raise education levels among Māori it is important that tertiary institutions are located in the communities where there is a need. She says Glen Innes has one of the highest levels of unemployment and educational underachievement in Auckland – East and Bays Courier

TAFE staff were on strike last week to demonstrate their opposition to unparalleled funding cutbacks totalling almost $300 million imposed by the Victorian State Government. A recent leaked cabinet paper summarising so called “TAFE transition plans” has incited outrage. The plans show that campuses will close, TAFE institutes will merge, at least two thousand staff will be sacked, students will pay higher fees and TAFE institutes will cut provision or close down courses – The Conversation

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