National Tertiary Education Union â€” UQ Branch
NEWS & VIEWS February 2013
IS UQ BROKE?
Andrew Bonnell, UQ Branch President
Inside this issue Is UQ Broke?
The UQ Workplace Culture Survey: A Member's Response
Workplace Culture Where to from here?
The Curlew Club
UQ Members in the News
2012 in Retrospect
The Union and You
NTEU University of Qld Branch Branch President Andrew Bonnell Branch Organiser Lachlan Hurse Industrial Officer Michael McNally Office Rm 412 Seddon Bld (82D) St Lucia Campus, Qld 4072 Phone..................... 07 3365 2538 Fax.......................... 07 3365 2949 Email............ firstname.lastname@example.org Web.............www.nteu.org.au/uq
Members will have heard that the University is in straitened financial circumstances. School budgets that were fairly tight last year have been squeezed even further. Some schools (in Arts, for example) are only getting to keep one dollar in three that they raise from domestic students. How tough is the financial situation of UQ? In coming weeks the NTEU will be preparing an analysis of the financial position of the university, in support of our enterprise bargaining claims on behalf of members. It is true that there have been some disappointments as far as the honouring of federal government funding commitments is concerned. The mini-budget last year cut around $15 million promised funding for research costs per year for three years. It is also disappointing that the long-awaited recommendations of the base-funding review, including the Bradley Report's recommendation of an across-the-board 10% increase in base funding levels, have just been shelved.
On the other hand, we are finally getting full indexation of commonwealth grants per domestic student for the first time since 1995. Under the Howard government, we had only about half the necessary annual increase in these grants, equivalent to a cut in real terms of 2 to 2.5% a year. There has also been more funding flowing through uncapped student places. Overall, the federal government could and should be doing better, but public funding has improved compared with the long drought of the Howard years. As far as UQ is concerned, we continue to get a good level of revenue increase. The proportion of the budget that goes on salaries is moderate compared with comparable institutions, and pay rates for staff are behind the Group of 8 average. How much funding gets to the chalkface in T &R Schools is another matter. That's why the NTEU has been running a "Fair Shares" campaign. Watch this space in 2013!
Published by the National Tertiary Education Union, University of Queensland Branch. Authorised by Andrew Bonnell, President.
NTEU UQ News and Views, February 2013
The Curlew Club The Curlew Club is an informal lunchtime gathering of union members on the second Friday of each month. Named after the habitat of the Bush Stone Curlew which occurs within the St Lucia Campus, the Curlew Club is a chance to relax and talk with colleagues and remember when there used to be a lunch-hour at Uni; with no classes scheduled between 1 and 2 pm!
Where are we up to in Fair Shares? We relaunched the UQ Fair Shares Campaign in May last year (There had been a previous "Fair Shares" campaign in 2004. Since then we have had two forums, launched a website, a Facebook page and opened a survey which seeks member feedback about the effects of budget cuts on life at the chalkface. We have also produced a sticker to publicise the campaign and are seeking your support for distributing and displaying it to raise awareness.
Have you undertaken the survey? Find it here: http://www.uqfairshares.org.au/
The UQ Workplace Culture Survey: A Member's Response
Carlos Caceres, Reader in Casting Technology,Materials Engineering It required a special effort on my side to go through the recent workplace culture Survey. Not just because I happened to have a few other things to do, but because I found the questions puzzling at best, and annoying most of the time. The University expects us to publish in the top Journals in Philosophy, Math, Physics, you name it, and then treat us with a survey of vague questions written at primary school level to describe our own working environment. With such an unspecific set of questions, how could the Survey be engaging to anyone? The final part, on the other hand, when you are asked to tick your details, is hardly vague or innocent. I hated the whole Survey. I am sure I was not the only one. I think these are some of the issues the Survey should have covered: •• Budget: why more than 50% of the funding coming in to the Schools should be kept at the upper levels for the big projects, whereas at the coalface we struggle to get an extra hour of
paid tutors to help us cope with the increasing teaching load? No argument that we need the big projects, but where is our input? Can we at least bargain our own budgets a bit? •• Are high salaries, I mean, above the fullprofessor level, justified, considering the long standing budget restrictions? •• Whatever happened to collegiality? •• Are the anachronistic 4 academic levels (Lecturer / Sr Lecturer / Ass Prof ./ Prof ) worth keeping? Isn't it time that we have the Ass. Prof/Professor levels collapsed into one? •• How many more students can we take in every School without hiring more staff? •• How do we know that "student-centred teaching" is really the way to go? As long as these sort of things are not made explicit, what is the point of ticking the "most of the time" box to the question "I am expected to comply". Comply with what? Many of the things Donald Meyers wrote on his recent book "Australian Universities, a portrait of decline" went through my mind while reading the survey. http://www. australianuniversities.id.au/Australian_ Universities-A_Portrait_of_Decline.pdf
Where to from here? The UQ Branch welcomes the publication of the results of the UQ Workplace Culture Survey and the acknowledgement by the Senior Management that there are substantial issues that need addressing. For our part our branch will be willing to participate in processes that genuinely seek to improve workplace culture. However our concern is that given the high scores for 'Passive-Defensive' and 'Aggressive/Defensive' and the low scores for 'Constructive' styles of management, shifting the organisational culture will require profound changes in management style, and serious efforts to win the trust of a sceptical workforce. If the change is to be effective it will need more than consultancies into improving workplace culture, a few well-publicised
piecemeal measures with fancy names, and a computer systems tracking performance measures of workplace culture. What alternatives can we suggest? Here are a few discussion starters: •• Democratising the university, •• Reorganising school and faculty executives with stronger staff and student representation, •• Improving accountability of Senior Management to staff and students, •• Improving transparency around budgetary decision-making (including staff involvement) Time will tell if we can get anywhere near this! What would you like to see? Let your union know; send us an email to: email@example.com
NTEU UQ News and Views, February 2013
UQ Members in the News Congratulations to our UQ members who have received a range of awards in the past few months. Here are some who have come to our attention. 2012 Life Sciences Queensland Industry Award for Excellence. Firstly congratulations to NTEU member Professor Maree Smith on winning the 2012 Life Sciences Queensland Industry Award for Excellence. Maree's award was for her outstanding contribution to research and development into painrelieving medicine. Professor Maree Smith has pursued life sciences translational research at UQ for over 20 years and says that the drive was a desire to improve health outcomes for patients. 2012 Winners - Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning Its with pleasure that we see longstanding members win UQ citations for outstanding contributions to Student Learning. Associate Professor Tom Baldock in the School of Civil Engineering has been recognised for implementing e-technology to improve feedback in large classes. Our members in the French Programme, Dr BĂŠatrice Atherton, Dr Juliana de Nooy, Dr Barbara Hanna and Dr Joe Hardwick received a citation for "sustained excellence and continuous innovation leading to better learning outcomes and cohortbuilding for students of French" during a period of great growth and change. UQ Awards for Excellence in Higher Research Degree Supervision Winners of the UQ Awards for Excellence in Higher Research Degree Supervision were: Professor Stephen Adkins, of the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, who has promoted extensive collaboration with international and industry partners, and fosters an empathetic and team-minded approach among his RHD students,
including a mentoring program; and Professor Richard Morgan, of the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering and Director of the Centre for Hypersonics, who has encouraged development through international student exchanges with overseas collaborators, whilst engendering internal cooperation within the study body. Commendations for Excellence in Research Higher Degree Supervision have been awarded to: Professor Bill Vicenzino, of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, for his considerable contribution to the mentoring of research higher degree students at UQ; and to Dr Barbara Sullivan, of the School of Political Science and International Studies, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, for her outstanding supervisory practice and considerable contribution to the mentoring of research higher degree students at UQ. 2012 Australian Awards for University Teaching.
Goodbye Gordon "Nobody is perfect. But being Scottish is close enough." I first met Gordon Lynn at a student orientation function on the first day of Orientation Week. He had just started at UQ a few weeks before with a role in "advancement" and "alumni relations". It immediately struck me that any bloke who realised that alumni relations began the first day a student was at university, and not the last day, really knew what he was doing. I bowled up, and introduced myself, and we became firm friends. As a member, and then more recently as an elected official of the NTEU, Gordon made a great contribution to the Queensland branch.
NTEU members at UQ received two awards from the Federal Government's Office of Learning and Teaching in 2012. Under the "awards for programs that enhance learning" Ms Alessandra Rossi, Ms Margaret Cannell, Ms Michele Feinberg, and Dr Wendy Green were part of the team won an award for Services Supporting Student Learning, for their program: Skills for Communicating and Relating in Pharmacy Training.
Helen Keates, from the School of Veterinary Science was awarded a Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, for developing practice-ready veterinary graduates with mastery of fundamental knowledge and principles of veterinary anaesthesia and their application in novel, challenging clinical situations. Congratulations again to all, we are proud to count you amongst our membership!
Gordon left UQ, late last year to take up a job with Uniting Care, where I'm sure he will flourish. There are many people, and I speak as one who has Scottish ancestry myself, who have trouble understanding what Scotsmen say. That was never the case with Gordon. He is a straight shooter, unambiguous in expressing himself, with a great sense of humour, and an incisive capacity to identify the bizarre, the stupid and the just plain wrong. Gordon remains part of UQ; now as a part-time Ph.D. student. Gordon, we are all poorer for your leaving, and we wish you well. John Harrison
NTEU UQ News and Views, February 2013
Enterprise Bargaining at UQ
A Few Snapshots!
Bargaining Report 19 December 2012
The UQ Bargaining Team: (L to R) Dr Dave Callaghan (Civil Engineering), Liz Ridley (Discipline Coordinator, School of Medicine), Michael McNally (NTEU Industrial Officer), Associate Professor Andrew Bonnell, (History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, and NTEU UQ Branch President).
Your UQ Bargaining Team met with Management on 19 December for the fourth and final bargaining meeting of 2012. The meeting started with a lengthy discussion of the NTEU claim for an improved staff development program for professional staff and a better internal labour market with more internal advertising of positions and greater opportunities for career progression. Management reps outlined what they see as UQ’s good record in these areas, but the NTEU is seeking a much better funded and more regulated framework. These discussions will continue at the first meeting next year. We made progress on a number of ‘small ticket’ items including revised arrangements for Academic Staff Supervision, Transfer Between University Locations and Supervisor Training and these are agreed ‘in principle’. On the issue of Probation we made little progress. Management are seeking to extend the probationary period for HEW 5-7 to six months (currently 3 months) and to clarify their view that staff already having undertaken a probationary period may be on probation again if they take up a new role within the University. Our view is that there are only limited circumstances where a second probationary period might be imposed and that those limited
circumstances should be outlined in the Agreement. There will be more wrangling over this in the new year. The clauses on performance appraisal for both professional and TESOL staff and academic staff were discussed. There was only one minor change to the latter, but the former has seen a bit of a re-write. Negotiations produced a better clause which emphasises the ‘development’ aspects of the process as opposed to the ‘performance’ aspects. Your UQ Bargaining Team will now take a well-earned break before resuming negotiations with management on 14 February. Thank you for all your feedback and your messages of support; it helps going into meetings knowing that then membership is right behind you! Andrew, Liz, Dave and Michael Your UQ Bargaining Team
Our Log of Claims View the NTEU’s Log of Claims as served on the University. http://www.nteu.org.au/library/view/ id/3131 Visit our NTEU Bargaining website: http://www.universitybargaining.org.au/
NTEU UQ News and Views, February 2013
2012 in retrospect 2012 was a busy year for us in the UQ Branch; and our achievements testify to the continuing relevance of unionism in matters large and small, no matter what our detractors say! Here at UQ we were involved in a range of activities that reflect on the concerns of our branch. Here's a sample of our activity from last year.
Information stalls at New Staff Expos New staff to the University of Queensland were offered information about the union at stalls held in the UQ Centre in February and July. Thanks to our committee members for volunteering to speak to new staff about the benefits of unionism. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Women's and Gender Studies at UQ - International Women's Day and May 18. We had over 100 people attend our International Women's Day seminar and reception, with special guest speaker Merle Thornton, amongst a range of outstanding panellists. A second seminar, "Retrieving Women's Lost and Silenced Histories" was held in May with another impressive line-up of speakers. Participating in the NTEU's Future of Higher Education conference This conference discussed the challenges facing Higher Education due to changing policy, technology, financial arrangements, internationalisation and regional engagement. UQ members and staff participated in the conference, along with colleagues from across Australia. Fair Shares Campaign The slide in the proportion of university money going into teaching and learning is impacting on the student experience and our staff morale. (For instance, only one in three dollars brought in from Students and Commonwealth funding into schools in the Arts Faculty stays with the schools, two thirds is taken into central revenue). This campaign, designed to arrest this decline, was launched in May 2012, and had follow
up activities with the launch of the website: www.uqfairshares.org.au. Unisuper forum In May, Grahame McCulloch, the General Secretary of the NTEU, spoke at a forum at UQ on Unisuper, in around issues associated with the Defined Benefit division. Auditing a work area for WHS breaches associated with workplace harassment Upon learning of concerns about staff Workplace Health and Safety, the Union exercised right-of-entry under the Fair Work Act and Workplace Health and Safety laws to conduct an audit on risks to the health and well-being of staff from workplace harrassment in the Office of Marketing and Communication. Our Industrial officer conducted the confidential audit of staff, the results of which demonstrated that there was a problem.. As a result, the University undertook a comprehensive risk assessment in the area which included information sessions on staff about managing workplace harassment. The Union will be going into OMC again in the near future to see whether the situation has improved.
Support for â€˜Democracy 4UQUâ€™ student group. Highly questionable tactics by the incumbents in the UQ Student Union in the conduct of the union elections led to the biggest protests by students at UQ for many years. The NTEU provided advice and support for students in 'Democracy 4UQU' and our members attended and spoke in support at their rallies. Marching in the NTEU contingent on Labour Day. Our branch members participated in the NTEU contingent in the Labour Day march, ending at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground. Developing and endorsing the Log of Claims for Round 6 of Enterprise Bargaining. As our current Enterprise Agreement expires in May this year, the union initiated a number of member meetings to develop a log of claims which was served on the University in October. Achieving the first Continuing-Contingent positions at UQ In an effort to win greater job security for staff in research positions the NTEU negotiated a new employment statusin the lsat round of bargaining, "Continuing Contingent" which includes incentives and additional rights for staff employed on research funding. We were pleased to achieve for NTEU members the first two positions at UQ under this status.
Standing in solidarity with Qld Public and Community Sectors The National Tertiary Education Union proudly stood in solidarity with unionists from across the state who joined together to protest the Newman government's cuts to jobs and services at rallies outside Parliament House The UQ branch initiated support from across the Higher Education sector including our NTEU National Council. Celebration of Bluestocking Week The NTEU has revived this celebration of women in Higher Education. On 13 August at UQ we held a forum and concert on the 'Grassy Knoll' at St Lucia campus. Guest speakers included Jeannie Rea, the National President of the NTEU, Helen Creese (LCCS) and students Joanna Qualmann and Izzy Manfield from the UQ Women's Collective. The forum was followed by a memorable performance from 'Luna Junction'.
Local issues We conducted local area member meetings to discuss workloads, job security, and other issues in Schools and Institutes, including; Agriculture and Food Science (Gatton), English, Media Studies and Art History, Institute for Continuing and TESOL Education, Journalism and Communication, Medicine (Herston), Queensland Brain Institute, Social Sciences, and the Sustainable Minerals Institute. Sponsoring the Ride-To-Work Day The UQ Branch sponsored the National Ride-To Work day breakfast, held on October 23. What will 2013 bring?
The Union and You Lachlan Hurse UQ Branch Organiser
The National Tertiary Education Union is an association of university employees who collectively organise to improve and protect the conditions of employment of their members. When we talk about "The Union" it means our members, our democratic structures (Branch Committees, State Division Council and National Council) our administrative structures (Branch, State and National offices, along with the staff of the union) and includes YOU. You and the thousands of other members in tertiary institutions across the country are the backbone of the union. As a member you are an integral part of the collective, in whose hands union power resides. To achieve things as a union we can't afford to separate ourselves from the collective. When something needs to be done, you also need to ask, "What can I, as a member of the collective, do about this?"
"What's the Union doing about this?" Frequently Union staff and officials get asked the question "What's the Union doing about this?"
If you believe there is an issue that is affecting you and your colleagues at work, most likely it is a union issue. However our capacity to act is governed by a range of factors, including the industrial and legislative framework that regulate unions operations, our Enterprise Agreement, university policy and finally the available resources within the union. Above all though, our capacity is heavily dependent on the willingness of our members to act together collectively. We can organise most effectively around issues that are felt widely and deeply across our membership.
What should I do if I want to raise an issue with the union? In the first instance, contact your union delegate, or branch organiser to see if the issue has been raised at a local level by other NTEU members, or if they are aware of existing union activity around the matter. The issue you are facing may be of relevance to: •• the School or work unit, (such as a restructure or review);
•• the Faculty, (for example a faculty review, or change to faculty funding arrangements); •• the whole university (policy and Enterprise Agreements, governance issues) •• the Higher Education sector, (such as university funding arrangements, higher education policy etc..). If your issue can't be resolved locally, contact the NTEU Branch Organiser or your Branch President, who will either offer advice, request action by union staff, seek direction from the NTEU Branch Committee or State Division about what action to take. So next time you are thinking "what's the Union doing about this?", make sure that your union colleagues know about your concerns and let's act together.
United and strong, nothing can stop us achieving great working lives!
NTEU members celebrating the end of 2012 with family and friends at the BEL Terrace