Reform in Workplace Law Enhances Support for Higher Education Staff
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The National Tertiary Education Union has firmly supported revisions to workplace legislation that will positively impact university staff. The Closing Loopholes Bill, passed by the Albanese Government in federal parliament on Monday, aims to restore equilibrium for workers. As per the amendments, the Fair Work Commission will be tasked with ensuring that workers do not experience regressions when protracted bargaining disputes are referred to the workplace umpire for arbitration.

The bill additionally grants workers the right to disconnect and reinforces the pathway for casual employees to transition into permanent roles. NTEU General Secretary Dr. Damien Cahill hailed the reforms as a significant victory for workers. “These changes will make it more difficult for vice-chancellors and senior executives to manipulate workplace laws in efforts to reduce pay and conditions,” he stated. “Regrettably, we observed certain universities stalling negotiations in an effort to push for arbitration.”

“The NTEU brought attention to this agenda last year, and it is encouraging to see the government responding with necessary reforms.

“Now, workers will have assurance that any decision made by the workplace umpire in arbitrating bargaining disputes will not result in anyone being worse off.

“This bill also establishes the right to disconnect, which is crucial for university staff who have been overwhelmed by escalating workloads.”

“Our union has been at the forefront of securing some of the initial right-to-disconnect provisions incorporated into enterprise agreements, and we enthusiastically support the extension of similar rights to all workers.

“With casualization prevalent throughout higher education, this bill removes some of the obstacles for staff seeking to transition into permanent positions.”

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