Update on the University change proposal

9 February 2012

As you know, the University's Formal Change Proposal was published for staff feedback last Friday. I hope that all staff have now had an opportunity to consider the proposed changes, and I welcome your comments and suggestions on the proposals and the draft implementation plan.

I want to assure all staff that the University is committed to ensuring that the change management process is undertaken in full compliance with the Enterprise Agreement. Consistent with this commitment, University representatives met yesterday with the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) to discuss concerns the union had raised about discussions taking place with academic staff at the faculty level and about what they believed to be a 'staff freeze' for general staff.

At that meeting, the University's representatives assured the NTEU that no final decisions had been made on the University's change proposal, that no decisions would be made until after the consultation processes under the Enterprise Agreement have been completed, and that no staff freeze had been implemented, nor was there any intention to do so.

Discussions with individual staff

The University has been mindful from the commencement of the change consultation process that some staff would want to have discussions with their supervisors about their individual situations, and the possible implications of the change proposals if they proceed. For this reason, throughout the consultation process we have encouraged staff to speak to their supervisors or HR advisers about any issues or concerns they may have. As is always the case, it is open to staff to canvass options such as voluntary redundancy and flexible work arrangements if they wish to do so. Arrangements may be agreed at the faculty level so long as the discussions and any arrangements that are entered into are voluntary and consistent with the Enterprise Agreement and relevant delegations. Any arrangements that do not meet these requirements will not be permitted.

In relation to the NTEU's claims, if there are any situations in which staff believe that, during the course of the change consultation process, they have entered into arrangements that they now wish to withdraw from, they should contact their supervisor or HR adviser by 15 February so we can ensure that their proposed arrangements do not proceed. At today's meeting, the University's representatives also asked the NTEU to provide details of any specific instances in which they believe that arrangements have been entered into other than on a voluntary basis, and gave an undertaking to investigate any such cases.

As I said earlier, no staff freeze has been put in place and there is no intention to do so. Separate change processes are under way in some faculties and professional service units, and there may be changes to structures as a result of these processes. There may also be other one-off situations where, for a variety of reasons and in line with the University's normal business practices, vacant positions have not been automatically filled. If there are local level arrangements which the NTEU believes amount to a freeze, these will be investigated and a clarifying email will be sent to deans, heads of schools and directors to ensure that the University-wide position is understood.

Further information

Staff with queries or concerns are welcome to speak to their dean, head of school or director, or to their HR adviser.

Yours sincerely

Michael Spence