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Issue # 1423      12 August 2009

Murdoch University staff vote for action

A meeting of NTEU members at Murdoch University in Western Australia last week voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion to ballot for industrial action.

“This vote indicates the growing frustration Murdoch staff feel towards university management,” said Dr Lyn Bloom, National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) WA division secretary and Murdoch staff member. “The NTEU and the University have been in negotiations for months over terms and conditions. The union has proposed a number of provisions to improve working life at Murdoch. These include increasing job security for casual and contract staff, and restoring those rights and conditions lost under the previous Howard government”.

Murdoch staff are currently the lowest paid university staff in Western Australia. The NTEU is seeking a salary increase that will bring their pay into line with their colleagues at other West Australian universities. Murdoch management has linked all discussion of pay to further significant erosion of working conditions at Murdoch.

Dr Bloom said, “Despite our best efforts, Murdoch management is unwilling to commit to the NTEU’s proposals. Murdoch staff have repeatedly delivered quality educational outcomes; we believe they deserve quality pay and conditions”.

The vote, passed unanimously at a meeting of members, is the important first step on the road to industrial action. The NTEU will be applying for a secret ballot of its members at Murdoch to authorise a range of industrial action including a full-day strike.

Dr Bloom continued, “I think that the vote demonstrates how committed Murdoch staff are to seeing this process through, and seeing rights and conditions returned to Murdoch.”

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