TAFE & Adult Provision Swinburne management locks out teachers

AEU and NTEU members locked out of work at Swinburne Uni. Photo: Sam Danby

At the time of writing, AEU members implementing bans at Swinburne remain locked out by the university – prevented from teaching and not being paid.

In response to Swinburne’s unprecedented and aggressive action, members have agreed to continue their industrial action to force the university to deliver a deal that addresses claims regarding salary increases and superannuation. 

Students are also affected by Swinburne’s belligerence, as locking out teachers means classes not running.

Members have had partial work bans in place for almost a year, and continued to run classes for students in the normal way. Swinburne, instead of settling the dispute by making a reasonable offer, advised teachers that if the partial bans continued, they would not accept any work done by members, effectively locking them out.

The hostile notice sent out by Swinburne management clearly intended to scare and intimidate members into lifting the bans.

Industrial action became necessary due to protracted and challenging negotiations. Swinburne management have not engaged meaningfully in bargaining for some time, walking away from the table and putting a non-union agreement out to vote.

Swinburne management have consistently shown how much they undervalue their vocational teachers, and the non-union agreement was rightly and strongly rejected by teachers who refused to become the lowest paid TAFE teachers in the state.

Since the successful ‘vote no’ campaign derailed management’s bargaining position, they have employed delaying tactics in negotiations, postponing and cancelling meetings in the hope that members will tire of waiting and accept a lower offer.

The hostile notice sent out by Swinburne management clearly intended to scare and intimidate members into lifting the bans. This only confirmed that the bans are having the desired impact.

The notice from management inhibits and prevents teachers from educating their students. This action by a publicly funded university with an obligation to provide education is shameful.

The AEU has established a strike fund to support individual members who are impacted by Swinburne management’s decision.

The AEU and the NTEU are working together in response to the employer’s bullying tactics and to compel Swinburne to put a decent offer on the table for our members.

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