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

30 April 2013

This message provides information about the key issues discussed in enterprise bargaining meetings over the last two weeks. More information about the University's position is available on the enterprise bargaining website.

Negotiations continue on the following issues:

  • Scholarly Teaching Fellows: The new Enterprise Agreement (EA) will provide for new Scholarly Teaching Fellow positions as a percentage of reported casual staff. The University would like these positions to be advertised competitively and to be open to former or current casual staff of Australian universities. We are considering whether these roles can be filled on a continuing basis. Scholarly Teaching Fellows will be appointed at Level A and assigned teaching and teaching-related work for up to 80 percent of their time. The balance will be spent in scholarship and research. The University will consider a two-year probationary term, followed by a three-year confirmation period in which performance would be assessed.
  • Early Career Development Fellowship (ECDF) positions: The agreement will provide for new ECDF positions. Applicants will need to have submitted or been awarded a PhD and to have performed casual academic work at an Australian university, and selection will be on academic merit. The University would consider a two-year probationary term followed by a three-year confirmation period in which performance would be assessed. The NTEU is seeking 80 of these positions; while that is unaffordable, the University can commit to funding at least 40.
  • Probation and confirmation: All academic staff recruited into the University would undergo a two-year probationary term followed by a three-year confirmation period in which their performance would be assessed. (Currently academic staff undergo probation of 6 to 12 months then a five-year confirmation period for Level A positions, and four years for positions at Level B and above.)
  • Fixed-term employment: The University's proposal on fixed-term employment is unchanged. It 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 oppose any broadening of situations in which fixed-term appointments may be made.
  • Workloads for academic staff: The University wishes to amend the agreement to provide more flexibility around the 40:40:20 distribution of time. Read the University's proposal on academic workloads.
  • Teaching-focused roles: No less than 20 percent of a teaching-focused role (TFR) would be spent in research and scholarship. The union wants a research account to be established to help TFR staff return to a full teaching and research workload. This is opposed by the University. The University wishes to advertise TFRs and this is opposed by the unions. Read the University's proposal on teaching-focused roles.
  • Workplace bullying: The University would agree to a general statement of principle about bullying but not to a special clause incorporating policy into the agreement, as sought by the unions.
  • Union resources and access: The University is prepared to retain existing clauses, subject to the unions paying rent to cover premises and office services. The University has not agreed to the unions' claim for 100 percent time release for the branch president.
  • Domestic violence leave: Under the University's proposal, staff would have access to personal leave for this purpose. The unions are seeking a separate provision.

In relation to professional staff coverage under the enterprise agreement, we have discussed the following issues:

  • Staff development: The unions want 1 percent of the quantum of the professional staff salary bill to be committed to pay for professional staff development. The University will commit $5 million for development of all staff, but does not see this as a matter for the EA.
  • Staff mobility: We have agreed to establish a short-term secondment and exchange scheme for professional staff. This will include the development of a register of interested staff; the advertising of positions; provision for position exchanges; and additional entitlements for long-term staff to access the scheme. The unions want all vacancies to be advertised internally in the first instance and only advertised externally on completion of internal interview processes. The University does not agree to this restriction.
  • Classifications: The University wants to review the professional staff classification procedure during the term of the agreement, with changes to be implemented in the next EA. The union has not agreed to this.
  • Incremental progression: The University needs to provide for incremental progression based on Professional Planning and Development (PP&D) completion. Read the University's proposal on incremental progression.
  • Workloads: The unions are seeking a clause to regulate professional staff workloads. The University does not agree that this is warranted.

With regard to the following issues, the University's position remains unchanged from its original proposal (which can be read on the enterprise bargaining website; links below):

Any salary increase and the duration of the new agreement are yet to be determined.

I will provide further updates on progress as it occurs.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Ann Brewer