Higher education staff winners in workplace law reform

National Tertiary Education Union

The National Tertiary Education Union has strongly endorsed changes to workplace laws which will benefit university staff.

The Albanese Government’s Closing Loopholes Bill, which passed federal parliament on Monday, helps restore some balance towards workers.

Under the changes, the Fair Work Commission will have to ensure workers don’t go backwards when intractable bargaining disputes are sent to the workplace umpire for arbitration.

The bill also gives workers the right to disconnect and strengthens the path for casual employees to convert to permanent roles.

NTEU General Secretary Dr Damien Cahill said the reforms were a major win for workers.

“These changes will make it harder for vice-chancellors and senior executives to game workplace laws in attempts to drive down pay and conditions,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we were seeing some universities stalling negotiations in an attempt to push for arbitration.

“The NTEU exposed this agenda last year and it is good to see that the government has responded with much-needed changes.

“Now workers will have a guarantee that any final call the workplace umpire makes when arbitrating bargaining disputes will leave no one worse off.

“This bill also creates the right to disconnect which is incredibly important for university staff who have been swamped with increasingly dangerous workloads.

“Our union has led the way on some of the first right-to-disconnect rights enshrined in enterprise agreements and we wholeheartedly welcome similar rights being extended to all workers.

“With casualisation rampant across higher education, this bill clears some of the hurdles for staff to convert to permanent jobs.”

/Public Release.