Swinburne responds to false NTEU claims

The National Tertiary Education Union’s claims about Vocational Education and Training (VET) staff being stood down are completely false.

Swinburne’s partial work ban notice does not mean any staff have been stood down without pay.

The protected industrial action taking place amongst VET employees over the past 12 months has included the refusal to record student engagement and attendance, bans on recording student results, bans on attending meetings and bans on responding to email, telephone and in-person enquiries. These actions disrupt the student experience and increase pressure on other staff who are performing all their usual duties.

The notice issued by Swinburne means that any staff who engage in any of the bans will not be entitled to any payments for that day. This in no way constitutes any employees being stood down from their positions, in fact we welcome our staff to perform all their normal duties.

Swinburne recognise and respect a union member’s right to engage in protected industrial action. Swinburne is exercising its right to deduct the pay from those union members who choose to engage in protected industrial action. Swinburne issued this notice because the ongoing disruptions to students’ learning experience is unsustainable. It is precisely to prevent disruption of our students’ studies that we have decided to utilise the options legally available to us.

We disagree with and very much regret the use of students’ results, part of their future careers, as a tactic by NTEU and we seek a fair and reasonable outcome for this process.

We regret the impact that the continuing industrial action is having on our students’ learning experience and remain committed to seeking a fair and reasonable conclusion to enterprise bargaining.

Swinburne has engaged in good faith negotiations since October 2020, and will continue to do so. In acknowledgement of the time elapsed since then, the University awarded a 2 per cent salary increase, backdated to July 2021, to all staff under the VET Agreement while negotiations continued.

The University’s bargaining team will meet with the unions again shortly to seek to resolve a new enterprise agreement and bring this matter to a close.

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