60 day ‘rights freeze’

Posted By TEU on Jul 11, 2013 |

Tertiary Update Vol 16 No 23

The government’s proposed new employment laws could see union members locked in a two-month gap without any employment rights just when they need them most, says TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs.

The new law if passed will mean that employers will be able to ask the Employment Relations Authority to declare that bargaining is over. The authority can either do so, or recommend ways to bargain. If the bargaining is declared over, then so is the existing collective agreement and all members will be placed on an individual agreement. The employer then gets 60 days before bargaining can start afresh.

“During that time union members have none of their collective agreement rights, because the collective agreement will not exist,” says Sharn Riggs. “And they will not be allowed to take industrial action. Meanwhile the employer can actively promote individual employment agreements to undermine the old collective agreement.”

Moreover, even once those sixty days are up, union members still have another forty days when they cannot take industrial action, notes Sharn Riggs.

“In total, an employer who opposes unions and collective bargaining will have over three months, during which he or she can bring in employees on individual agreements with differing terms and conditions. Meanwhile union members will have reduced legal rights or even no legal rights to respond.”

Sharn Riggs is urging TEU members to submit to Parliament before 25 July letting politicians know they oppose this new bill.

“They are unfair, undemocratic and undermine the basis of decent work.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Survey shows widespread insecure work in tertiary education
  2. Supreme teaching award winner highlights inequity
  3. Science and maths teachers shine in teaching awards
  4. Treasury documents reveal budget-cutting pressure
  5. NZ pushing for new global trade-in-services agreement

Other news

As scores of colleges rush to offer free online classes, the mania over massive open online courses may be slowing down. Even top proponents of MOOCs are
acknowledging critical questions remain unanswered, and are urging further study – Inside Higher Ed

Six hundred professors have signed a letter condemning “disreputable” plans by the University of Liverpool to force its non-academic staff
to accept new terms and conditions – Times Higher Education

British working-class students are less likely to play a full part in university life because of the financial burden of getting through a degree course,
according to research – The Telegraph

Last week the Oregon legislature took the first steps toward possibly implementing a plan that would allow public college and university students to forgo
upfront tuition payments in exchange for paying a portion of their wages back to their alma mater for about 25 years following graduation. While it may
mean no money down, it could still add up to large tuition bills – Inside Higher Ed

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