Enterprise bargaining update

2 September 2013

Last week I met with union representatives, including the general secretary of the NTEU, to discuss again the University's proposed Enterprise Agreement. I am writing to let you know that unfortunately the unions did not agree to the University's offer by 5pm last Friday.

As I indicated in my emails of 13 August and 15 August, the University is no longer able to guarantee the backdating of salary increases to 1 July 2013. Given that we do not know how long the negotiations will continue, and in the face of an uncertain political and economic climate, it would be irresponsible for the University to make this commitment unless we were absolutely certain we had the financial capacity to fulfil it.

The University's offer to increase staff salaries by 2.9 percent per annum for four years under the next Enterprise Agreement still stands, together with the conditions already agreed with the unions. It is a good deal. It allows us to continue to be the Australian university with pay, conditions and benefits that lead the higher education sector, and to maintain our reputation as a leader in teaching and research.

Many staff members have told me they are keen for negotiations to conclude. I share this goal, and welcome your views and feedback. I will keep you updated as discussions with the unions continue.

Finally, may I thank all those of you who helped make Saturday's Open Day a tremendous success. We welcomed an estimated 27,000 future students, their families and other members of the community on to campus. Thousands of conversations between potential students and their future teachers took place. There is no doubt that this is a challenging time in our University's history, and I am particularly proud that our community joined together to support our future.

Yours sincerely,
Michael Spence