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Australia: University misses out on $1.4 million through failing to negotiate collective agreement

The University of Ballarat has forfeited $1.4 million by failing to have a new collective agreement that complies with the government’s requirements in place by 30 November last year, EI affiliate the NTEU has learned.

As a result of missing the deadline, Ballarat is the only Victorian university that will not receive an additional 5% commonwealth funding for 2006. “When the Union was prepared to negotiate an agreement that the University could obviously afford, why forego $1.4 million that you don’t have to lose?” NTEU Victorian Division Secretary Matthew McGowan said. “The announcement that all other Victorian universities that needed to meet the government’s deadline will all receive their 2006 funding increase vindicates the position that the NTEU took, in seeking to negotiate Higher Education Workplace Relations Requirements - compliant agreements at all Victorian universities.” McGowan believes there was ample opportunity for the University of Ballarat to negotiate an acceptable collective agreement that didn’t seek to remove or reduce important employment conditions, and have it certified in time to meet the deadline. McGowan urges the university to return to negotiations and settle a new agreement that protects staff conditions and provides salary increases and back pay for all staff, and guarantees 2007 funding increases. “It’s time to bring to an end this bitter and divisive period, and allow the University and staff to return to their core business – providing a world-class education for the Ballarat and regional communities.”