Open letter to Victoria University regarding attacks on union representatives

To Vice Chancellor Peter Dawkins and the Victoria University Council,

It is with considerable alarm and shock that we protest Victoria University’s decision to target three out of four branch officers of the VU NTEU branch for redundancy. These redundancies are happening as bargaining for a new VU enterprise agreement is about to begin, suggesting that VU management has adopted a very adversarial position by targeting key staff best situated for the negotiations.

These redundancies are part of a significant restructure at VU, which involved large cuts to courses and staff positions, forcing students to look for alternative courses elsewhere or leaving many students without senior and experienced teaching staff. The targeted redundancies of the three NTEU branch officers were also raised in the Victorian parliament on 19 October 2017.

We are extremely concerned that VU management’s actions will damage the university’s reputation and commitment to providing good quality education for Melbourne’s westerns suburbs.

We demand that university management immediately halt the actions against the three elected union representatives and call moratorium on any further change plans until the harm on students and staff can be more fully assessed.


Yours in protest:

Colleen Hartland, Greens MP for the Western Metropolitan Region

Professor Maree Brennan, honorary adjunct at VU

Les Thomas, Monash NTEU member

Jacob Andrewartha, VU student

Professor Tony Birch, VU Research Fellow, writer

Dr Jeff Sparrow, Honorary Fellow, VU

Dr Jacinda Woodhead, editor Overland, VU NTEU member

Dr Natalie Kon-Yu, VU academic, writer

Dr Maree Keating, former NTEU Vice President, VU branch

Associate Professor Enza Gandolfo, NTEU member, novelist

Alex Skutenko, Overland

Sian Vate, deputy editor, Overland

Stephanie Convery, journalist, union member and former Overland deputy editor

Dr Dorothy Bottrell, VU staff

Anna Branford, former VU staff

Alison Croggon, writer, critic, Overland contributor

Margarita Windisch, VU staff

Mikhaila Hargraves, VUWC and VU Pride member

Dr Kerrie Saville, NTEU Deakin Branch President

Dr Tom Clark, VU academic

Dr Karina Smith, VU academic

Professor Christian Haesemeyer, University of Melbourne; VP (Academic) University of Melbourne NTEU Branch

Maria Strofalis, former VU staff member and student

Nicole Hilder, former VU librarian

Melinda Brown, VU staff

Cameron McInnes, VU student and VU Pride

Dr Britta Schneider, VU staff

Tina Grimes, VU staff

Natalie Zirngast, VU postgrad student

Julie Butler, former VU student

Sandra DiGiantomasso, local resident, CD worker

Zoe Halabrec, VU student

Dr Iain McIntyre, Monash NTEU member

Mel Balkan, VU student

Rachel Dann , former  VU student

Lourdes Garcia-Larque, former VU staff and student

Deb McDonald, former VU staff member

Phil Evans, VU graduate

Trish Hayes, ex-sessional VU teacher

Dr Liam Ward, School of Media & Communication, RMIT University

Conall Cash, former VU history teacher

Terry Mason

Rosie Barron, RHD student and NTEU member

Peter Jones, JUC

Tania Jorquera, former VU student

Lizzie O’Shea, writer, unionist, human rights lawyer

Phoebe Churches, Manager Advocacy & Legal University of Melbourne Student Union

Shelley Turner, former VU staff

James Vassilopoulos, NTEU member Melbourne University

Julian Coppens, NTEU Monash branch delegate

Chris Leslie

Anne McMillan, VU staff member

Maria Kakala, VU student

Dane Letcher, VU student

Melanie Lazarow Life member NTEU

Leeanne Gooch, former VU student

Carmelina Monea, President of the Community Development Association VU, current VU student

Anna Nicholson, VU student

Lise Aumau, current VU student

Isabella Mcleod VU student

Camille Fitzgerald, current VU student

Amy Saunders, current VU student

Venus Loriente current VU student

Samantha Bourke, current VU student

Trinh Dao Mackeno, current Vu student

Catherine O’Connor, current VU student

Danea Johnston VU student

Leanne Higham, Footscray resident and NTEU member Melb Uni

Marian Burford

Jane Kenvay

Alexandra Haschek, NTEU member

Brianna Stevenson former VU student

Sam Douglas, NTEU member

Kellie Sanders, Deakin University

Claire Akhbari, former VU student current Uni Melb student

Dr Gary Pearce, RMIT NTEU member

Dr Vannessa Hearman, Charles Darwin University lecturer, former VU student and staff member.

Kate Bellew, VU Student

Bernedette Bonanno Angotti

Pippa Petty

Julie Stephens

Lauren Koroneos, VU student

Sara Eagle, VU alumni

Zemfira Brugts VU student

Daniel Ooi, VU staff

Brindley Sellick current VU student

Karen Penman, current VU student

Rebecca Abernethy, current VU student

Janette Wilcox, Kangan TAFE AEU member, Ex NTEU member.

Nicole Toupin, Footscray resident and ASU member

Owen Richardson

Samantha Mannix, NTEU member, University of Melbourne student

Irene Paulsen

Alexis Vassiley, NTEU member, Curtin University

Kieran Bennett, La Trobe University, student


*Academics, students, writers, union members and readers can add their names via the comments section below.

**There is a Stop VU Union Busting protest this Thursday 2 November at the VU CBD campus at 300 Flinders Street. From 12pm. Guest speaker Sally McManus.


Image via @eneferri

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  1. (hHis may be a little late; but) I wholeheartedly support the 8nion efforts.

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