Employer threatens staff over refusal to volunteer

9 August, 2022

University staff at RMIT have been threatened over their refusal to volunteer for unpaid work.

Last month RMIT staff were urged by Vice Chancellor Alec Cameron to volunteer their time at upcoming university open days.

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) subsequently advised members not to volunteer for unpaid work for 11 days in August in light of RMIT’s refusal to negotiate a new collective agreement.

RMIT lawyers then sent a letter to the NTEU warning the university is considering lodging action with the Fair Work Commission over staff members’ refusals to volunteer for unpaid work.

NTEU Victorian Division Assistant Secretary Sarah Roberts slammed RMIT’s aggressive tactics.

“Why should union members work for free out of the goodness of their hearts for an employer that won’t even sit down at the bargaining table?” Ms Roberts said.

“The RMIT [agreement] is long expired, yet the Vice Chancellor won’t negotiate a new one.

“Instead of valuing staff who are going the extra mile for students and the institution, RMIT has threatened their union with legal action for attempting to demonstrate how excessive their workloads are and how many unpaid hours are performed by the staff each week.

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