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Last week, Think Education, a subsidiary of Laureate International, withdrew its application to terminate an enterprise agreement covering nurse educators (among others) who transferred employment from Careers Australia to Think in June 2017.

The application was strongly opposed by the ANMF and Independent Education Union (IEU).

The employer withdrew its application during the hearing of the application after Laureate/Think’s witnesses made damaging admissions that fatally undermined its case.

Under questioning from the ANMF and IEU representatives and the Fair Work Commission, Think Education witnesses struggled to justify the need for the termination of the agreement.

If the application had succeeded, it would have meant that employee wages and conditions would have been determined instead solely by individual contract and the relevant Award.

Many guaranteed conditions including overtime, professional development and training, personal leave and redundancy benefits would either have been lost or reduced, or entirely reliant on employer policies.

Despite this, the employer during ‘consultations’ with staff leading up to the application, had advised them that the replacement contracts would be offered on ‘no less favourable terms’ than the enterprise agreement. Questioned about this at the hearing, employer witnesses were forced to concede that information provided to staff was false.

Prior to Think’s application, it had consistently refused to enter into collective bargaining with the ANMF for a replacement enterprise agreement.

The withdrawal of the application means that most of the Think Education employees continue to enjoy the guaranteed terms and conditions contained in the enterprise agreement.

Andrew McCarthy is ANMF’s Acting Senior Federal Industrial Officer