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Union Call Labelled A Stunt

Australian Higher Education Industrial Association 2 mins read

A union call for a parliamentary inquiry into wage underpayments is a political stunt, according to the Australian Higher Education Industrial Association (AHEIA).


The Executive Director of AHEIA, Craig Laughton, said today the call from the hierarchy of the National Tertiary Education Union comes in the wake of acknowledgements by the industry watchdog, the Fair Work Commission (FWO), that the issue of wage underpayment is being addressed by universities and has acknowledged that complexities in the award system were a contributing factor.


"This call is effectively snubbing the new Fair Work Ombudsman, from whom the sector had been taking direction and working towards addressing the issue," Mr Laughton said.


Additionally, the call completely undermines the move of the federal government to establish the Australian Tertiary Education Commission (ATEC) to oversee the sector.


“It’s ironic that the NTEU complains about poor governance across the sector and yet is proposing to bypass both the FWO and the ATEC with their proposal.”


"There is no doubt that the issue needs to be addressed and it is being addressed.  The sector has and continues to invest, significant resources to address the issue – no one is putting their head in the sand. It is embarrassing for universities and poor performance in the eyes of all university staff.”


"What the union movement has omitted to say is that nearly all of the instances of wage underpayments have been self-reported by universities.  This is not the act of an organisation or sector that if trying to cover anything up.


"Furthermore, when identified, universities have reacted swiftly to properly compensate and repay all affected staff – surely this illustrates good faith."  


Mr Laughton urged the government and other parties to ignore the union's extravagant, out-of-step request.




Contact details:

Craig Laughton | (he/him) 

Executive Director | Australian Higher Education Industrial Association | 

phone: 0477 799 149 |

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