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Australia: Education International supports affiliate the NTEU

Education International has written to the ILO in support of Australian affiliate the NTEU. The action was prompted by the Australian Government’s Higher Education Workplace Relations Requirements (HEWRRs), legislation which constitutes a breach of ILO Conventions ratified by Australia.

The provisions of the HEWRR will fundamentally affect the rights of workers to organise and undermine the collective bargaining process. The content of EI’s letter to the ILO dated 30th May is available, in English, below: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Mr Juan Somavia Director General International Labour Office 4, route des Morillons CH - 1211 Geneva 22 Brussels, 30 May 2006 Dear Mr Somavia, Education International (EI), the global union federation of teachers and other education workers, which represents over 29 million members in 166 countries, is supporting the complaint lodged in April 2006 by its affiliate, the National Tertiary Education Industry Union (NTEU). NTEU brought to the attention of the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations the fact that the requirements of the Australian Government’s Higher Education Workplace Relations Requirements (HEWRRs) constitute breaches of ILO Conventions ratified by Australia:
  • C98: Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining
  • C154: Collective Bargaining
  • C87: Freedom of Association and the Right to Organise
  • C135: Protection and Facilities to be afforded to Workers' Representatives
The actions taken by the Australian Government aim not simply to eliminate the rights, roles and functions of collective staff unions in Australian universities, but also to undermine the capacity of unions to represent and take action in defence of their members through collective bargaining. The provisions of the HEWRR will fundamentally affect the rights of workers to organise and will provide primacy to individual over collective bargaining. In doing so, the Government of Australia sets a dangerous precedent of providing additional machinery to facilitate individual bargaining in an act of anti-union discrimination. The NTEU complaint has also been endorsed by the Australian Council of Trade Unions. I look forward to receiving the observations of the Committee of Experts. Yours sincerely, Fred van Leeuwen General Secretary cc: NTEU - ACTU

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