Authority case confirms AUT’s requirement to consult

Posted By TEU on Mar 17, 2016 |

TEU is pleased with an Employment Relations Authority determination this month, in which the authority determined that AUT needs to consult in a two-step process rather than one when it undertakes a review where people could lose their jobs.

Last June AUT undertook a review of its law faculty. The review planned to disestablish six people’s jobs and create three new jobs. AUT advised TEU and began consulting about the proposal. Its proposal included selection criteria against which employees would be chosen for roles. TEU objected, saying that before AUT consulted on the criteria for choosing which people would lose their jobs the university first needed to consult on the need for the review itself.

AUT wanted to do both sets of consultation at the same time.

TEU argued that the collective agreement provides for a two-part consultation. The first part of the consultation process is about whether the proposal to make changes to the organisational structure should proceed or not. The second part of the consultation process is about how to deal with the effects of the decision.

Vicki Campbell, the member of the Employment Relations Authority who heard the case, agreed with TEU. She heard the submissions in January and made her determination last fortnight. Campbell found that the wording of the collective agreement requires AUT to consult about the review process and also the selection criteria after the final decision about the proposed change.

TEU’s national industrial officer Irena Brorens says the decision is good news.

“While the technical detail of the case is specific to AUT’s collective agreement, similar clauses exist in many other collective agreements TEU members have negotiated.”

“People who belong to the union and the collective agreement are getting better job protection because we’ve negotiated stronger clauses for circumstances where people might lose their jobs, and we have been willing to protect those clauses in front of the Employment Relations Authority,” said Brorens.

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