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Curtin works to minimise union disruption

Media release

Curtin University of Technology is doing all it can to minimise the impact on students of Wednesday’s planned strike by union members.

“We don’t expect there to be a widespread impact across the University despite union members voting to strike on Wednesday,” said Vice-Chancellor Professor Jeanette Hacket.

She said staff had no legal obligation to advise management in advance of their intention to strike but were being encouraged to do so to allow contingency plans to be put in place. 

“However, I believe it will be business as usual for most students because only about 13 per cent of academics are union members,” Professor Hacket said.

“I don’t believe all union members will strike as Curtin staff have a strong commitment to the wellbeing and education of our students.”

Professor Hacket said students would be able to make up any classes missed, and that each Faculty would advise its students how this could be done.

She was critical of the union decision to proceed with industrial action despite the University making a new pay offer last week.

The offer made by Curtin on Monday includes salary increases of up to 18 per cent since the end of the last agreement, a $1000 payment to each full-time staff member covered by the new agreements once they are accepted, and a proposed model to manage academic workload. Part-time staff will receive the payment proportionate to hours worked.

“These are very competitive salary offers and keep Curtin in the top third in terms of pay and conditions in the sector,” said Professor Hacket.

“Importantly, they also reflect our commitment to providing continued employment for our staff as we make every effort to avoid the large staff cuts that have occurred at some other universities.”

Professor Hacket said Curtin had weathered the global financial crisis better than many other Australian universities, in part because of the approach taken to financial management by Council and the senior executive, and also through the contribution and commitment of the staff.

Note to COS: Vice-Chancellor Hacket is available for interviews on Tuesday 15 and Wednesday 16 September.  Contact Ann Paterson, Director Corporate Communications (08 9266 2792, 0401 103 590, a.paterson@curtin.edu.au) to arrange an interview.