Australia’s academic union has abandoned plans for a nationwide pact to avert job losses, after more universities declined to participate.

The National Tertiary Education Union has called off a countrywide vote of its members on the proposed national jobs protection framework, with around half of universities now saying they will not proceed with the deal. Most others remain undecided.

The framework would allow universities to temporarily trim their workforce expenses in return for extra guarantees over the job security of their staff. Its negotiators envisaged that it would be applied at institutions where both management and staff approved it, once it had been endorsed in a national vote of NTEU members.

The union said it would now pursue votes only at

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