Bargaining update – bargaining meeting 12, March 29
The bargaining meeting yesterday discussed the following subjects:
Professional staff development fund: We are nearing in-principle agreement on our modest claims for the maintenance of the PSDF, which was established in 2013 in lieu of a better pay-rise. There still is no final agreement that funds can only be used for individual staff career development, not management-imposed training requirements.
Professional staff career and recruitment: There was significant disagreement about the role of internal advertising in professional staff vacancies. The NTEU is determined that institutional knowledge needs to be valued and that professional staff vacancies must therefore be advertised internally first. Management want to be able to advertise externally at the same time. We see this as a significant diminution to staff rights at the university.
Dispute settlement: Management is seeking to make it easier for them to implement changes when we are in dispute. The NTEU is clear that we will not accept this.
Redundancy pay: Management wants severance payments to be based upon the staff member’s average fraction over the whole period of their employment. This would see both winners and losers. The NTEU insists on the most favourable severance conditions for staff possible.
One-hour minimum engagement for casuals: University management want to reduce the current minimum engagement period from three to one hours. The NTEU is very concerned that this will open the door to our most precarious staff being forced to work for less than the existing minimum period. Both parties agreed to think further about ways which will protect casual staff and give the employer more flexibility.
Casualisation: management restated their periodic employment ‘solution’. We reject it because it locks staff in terrible jobs without career prospects; generates workload problems since it doesn’t give staff enough time to keep up with new research in their fields; and breaks the teaching-research nexus, thereby robbing the university, supposedly a research-intensive institution, of its distinctiveness (in contrast, for instance, to schools and TAFEs).
Future of academic work: We have asked management to come back with more information on their position on three areas on our proposals for the future of academic work: what percentage of the academic workforce should be on a balanced teaching-research role; what division of teaching and research constitutes a balanced teaching-research role; and what benefit to the university derives from teaching-only roles.
40/40/20 and individual workload negotiation: Management have not withdrawn their claim to remove the right to 40/40/20 and force academics to negotiate their research-teaching balance annually.