Message from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Management): enterprise bargaining negotiations

13 May 2013

I am writing to provide information about the key issues discussed in recent enterprise bargaining meetings.

Please refer to the University's position, available on the enterprise bargaining website. Negotiations continue on the following issues, among others:

  1. General staff development fund:We have agreed on most issues in relation to professional staff development except for the minimum amount of the fund to be included in the new Enterprise Agreement (EA).
  2. Professional staff classification: The unions have rejected our proposal to review the professional staff classification procedure during the term of the agreement.
  3. Work allocation for professional staff: The unions wish to have a clause in the new EA along similar (although not identical) lines to the existing one for academic staff. The University agrees to the inclusion of the current clauses 207 and 208in the new agreement. As explained in my 30 April email, the University does not agree that an additional clause is warranted.
  4. Managing change: In relation to discussions on staff representation during change,the University has proposed a compromise where affected staff could call on a "friend, colleague or union representative". The unions wish to be directly consulted on every change program. The University opposes this and the unions' proposal for an intranet site to list all draft change proposals, given the ensuing administrative workload.
  5. Redundancy: As previously explained, the University has rejected the unions' proposal to extend the same redundancy payments to professional staff that are provided to academic staff on the grounds that it overlooks the need for academic redundancy to be more generous because academic skills are less obviously transferable than professional staff skills. However, the University has agreed to cost the unions' proposal for an incremented change to see if we can lessen the gap between academic and professional staff redundancy entitlements.
  6. Scholarly Teaching Fellows: Some agreement has been reached over the provision of these new positions, but on 9 May the unions proposed the introduction of 322 continuing appointments over the next four years and then 107 for each year thereafter. The University believes this proposal is unsustainable financially.
  7. Fixed-term employment: As previously explained, the University's proposal on fixed-term employment aims to reduce, not increase, the number of casual staff employed, and to provide staff with more certainty and access to benefits such as paid leave and additional superannuation. The unions continue to reject the University's proposal in this area.

Other issues discussed and progressed, in most cases to the satisfaction of all parties, include:

  • vacancies for professional staff positions
  • short-term secondments
  • casual conversions
  • discrimination against fixed-term staff
  • superannuation (where the University's proposal seeks to provide flexibility for staff).

We seem to have reached agreement on the majority of the unions' 75 claims and we are still negotiating around 15 of these where there is important disagreement. I will provide further updates on our progress.

Yours sincerely,
Professor Ann Brewer