The University of Newcastle, Australia

Enterprise bargaining update

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Get the latest update from the Enterprise Bargaining Team about our new staff enterprise agreements.

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Dear colleagues,

To achieve our 2025 Vision the University has committed to building a future workforce that performs at world-class levels. We will support staff so they can be innovative in their practice within a healthy and rewarding environment, and ensure they are clear about their roles and the performance required to support their career aspirations in context with NeW Directions.

It is important that our Enterprise Agreement reflects our aspirations and the nature of our future workforce. The Enterprise Bargaining process plays a key role in reaching agreement through collaboration between the University, staff and their bargaining representatives.

We are pleased to report that we have made significant progress in shaping the underlying principles of our next Enterprise Agreement. The University has advocated a clear link to those principles that will empower staff to deliver the outcomes we all seek for our future success. This forward-thinking approach effectively reflects the nature of our future professional, teaching and academic workforce.

Some examples of the principles we are working towards include:

(a) An Agreement that jointly expresses, in a consolidated document, the terms and conditions of the workplace and supports the achievement of the University of Newcastle's (UoN) goals. The parties are committed to the implementation of all aspects of this Agreement both individually and collectively.

(b) An Agreement that:

 (i) Aligns with UoN's New Directions Strategic Plan 2013-2015 to enable UoN to successfully compete with local and overseas universities in an increasingly global market place; and
(ii) Ensures that UoN is competitive and financially sustainable into the future. 

(c) An Agreement that aims to continue to promote:

(i) Flexibility and continuous improvement
(ii) Leadership
(iii) Consultation by open and effective communication
(iv) Career opportunities; and
(v) Job and Income security.

(d) An Agreement that provides for:

(i) All Parties to focus their efforts on achieving a workforce that reflects the needs of a research-intensive university in its capacity, capability and constitution, and is able to deliver the objectives of the New Directions Strategic Plan 2013-2015
(ii) Flexible work practices, assisted by an appropriate mix of ongoing, contingent, fixed-term and casual staff
(iii) A culture of leadership and respect
(iv) Academic workload being based on productivity and performance, particularly the quality and nature of output, rather than activity or inputs
(v) All staff to be supported in taking a professional approach to their role, with commitment and flexibility in the conduct of their duties, consistent with the level of their appointment
(vi) A robust performance framework as a fundamental tool in the achievement of principle (v)
(vii) Teaching, research, administration and community activity being defined for specific areas of the University, not as one size fits all
(viii) Remuneration increases aligned with CPI ensuring increases above CPI are based on demonstrated links with productivity and performance, achievement of corporate KPIs and financial sustainability; and
(ix) UoN making decisions and managing the business in a manner consistent with our agreements to ensure optimum business performance and efficiency, return on investment and long-term job security.

At our recent Enterprise Bargaining meeting on 2 July 2013, the parties continued to negotiate by working through the clauses associated with performance and conduct:

  • The parties discussed the importance of ensuring the Performance Development Framework is embraced by staff members and managers as a key opportunity for ensuring clarity of expectations, outcome and alignment of work with organisational goals.
  • The University has proposed clauses which will refocus the performance processes, particularly allowing for initial performance issues to be dealt with as part of day-to-day management discussions.
  • The parties are currently considering the title of the Performance Development Framework. The University has indicated that it is open to suggestions from bargaining representatives for a title that reflects the intent of the process.
  • The parties are discussing the Committee of Inquiry and Inquiry Officer processes as mechanisms for the review of performance and misconduct matters.

Discussions have also focussed on Domestic/Family Violence. The University is considering proposed principles being incorporated into the Enterprise Agreement along with the inclusion of Domestic/Family Violence as a Personal Leave provision.

University representatives are consulting with staff at The Wollotuka Institute regarding Indigenous employment arrangements. It is expected that matters in relation to Indigenous employment will be discussed in the coming weeks.

Agenda items for the Enterprise Bargaining meeting scheduled for 16 July 2013 are:

  • Misconduct/Serious Misconduct
  • Discussion regarding the link between performance, misconduct and disciplinary processes
  • Domestic/Family Violence; and
  • Union claims regarding Classification Structure and Review, Redundancy, Intellectual Freedom, Staff Development and Workers Compensation.

We will continue to provide you with further updates throughout the Enterprise Bargaining process.

Yours sincerely,

The University Enterprise Bargaining Team:
Andrew Parfitt
John Germov
Tina Crawford
Paul Munro
Greg Kerr

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