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Enterprise Bargaining Bulletin UQ Branch

Respect. Recognition. Reward. Bulletin No. 20

5 December 2013

Enterprise Bargaining Report –

Job Security - Leave - Senior Staff Appointments - Indigenous Employment - Dispute Settlement and Salary Increases Your NTEU UQ Bargaining Team met with management on Tuesday afternoon (3 Dec). Items on the agenda included: job security; leave; senior staff appointments; Indigenous employment; dispute settlement and salary increases. Despite ‘in principle agreement’ to a comprehensive Restructuring and Redundancy clause, management have attempted to re-open negotiations on the removal of the Standing Committees for Change Management. These committees examine change proposals that involve possible redundancy. They provide a recommendation to the relevant senior executive as to whether consultation occurred with staff, workload issues have been addressed the recommendations, including criteria for identifying staff to be retrenched, are fair and reasonable. In our view they add a significant level of oversight to change processes at UQ (which has a history of continual restructuring) and have saved a number of positions during the current Agreement. The simple fact that a change proposal will be scrutinised adds a great deal of rigour to the process. Management are gravely mistaken if they think we will give up members’ job security. We made some progress on annual leave. Management came back with a clause that more closely reflected our position, reducing the scope to direct staff to take leave and enhancing and clarifying the right of staff to take leave at a time of their choosing. Genuine operational requirements will always be a sticking point (our members in the Student Centre might find it difficult to get leave approved in O Week!). Management are still seeking for staff to be able to ‘cash out’ long service leave in certain circumstances and to be able to take single days of LSL, both of which we oppose in principle. They are still considering our claim for access to LSL after 7 years’ service. They have to work out the benefit of reducing their leave liabilities and staff taking leave at lower pay rates versus the number of staff that might leave after 7 years’ service but before 10 years’ service. Management are still seeking to excise “Senior Staff” from the Agreement so they do not enjoy the protections of the Enterprise Agreement and enter into common law contracts for their employment. They are also seeking to extend


the definition of senior staff to Heads of School and above. Previously management have stated that they want to establish a ‘performance driven culture’, and that the inclusion of senior staff in the Agreement causes technical problems with the Fair Work Act. We disagree that the latter is the case, and have pointed out to management the manifest problems for workers with a culture based on KPIs and bonuses in a complex university environment. Some members may ask why do we care about management, but many Heads of School are members and we have had members up SDVC level. Indeed, if you go back far enough you will find VCs who were members of one of the NTEU’s antecedents – the UQ Academic Staff Association. There was no progress on the Indigenous Employment clause, but management have agreed to look at our proposed changes which increase the union representation on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Working Party, and put a numerical reference in the target listed in the clause. We provided management with a new draft Dispute Settlement clause to attempt to redress their concerns about staff disputing the outcomes of legitimately formed and executed Committees of Review or Appeal. They received this positively. Finally, we again asked whether we could negotiate over salary. We were advised that an administrative increase would be announced later in the week and it duly has been. The 2.5% announced for January next year is below the 3% average of settlements across the sector in this round of bargaining. This, combined with the 2.5% paid in January this year which has also turned out to be well behind the sector average for pay increases, means that UQ is slipping further behind in salaries in the sector generally, but particularly compared to the Group of Eight. You can see where our salaries sit with a Professional (HEW6.1) salary comparison here, and an Academic (Level C1) here. Mind the gap! In a somewhat frightening development (frightening for the bargaining team at least!), management have scheduled bargaining meetings to start again in February, and that go until April!! Andrew, Liz (in spirit), Dave and Michael Your UQ Bargaining Team Authorised by Andrew Bonnell, President, NTEU UQ Branch -

NTEU UQ Branch Enterprise Bargaining Bulletin No 20

5 December 2013

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UQ NTEU EB Bulletin No. 20  

A summary of the UQ Enterprise Bargaining negotiations of 3 December 2013

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