The University of Newcastle, Australia

Enterprise bargaining update

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

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

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Enterprise Bargaining is now well underway.

The University community has committed to the vision and ambitions articulated in the New Directions 2013 - 2015 Strategic Plan, underpinned by a future workforce plan that outlines how our staff will contribute to those ambitions. It is critical that our new Enterprise Agreement reflects this vision.

In the early stages of bargaining we have made significant progress in shaping the underlying principles of our next Enterprise Agreement. Rather than taking an incremental approach to a form of agreement that is dated and doesn't adequately reflect the nature of our future professional, teaching and academic workforce, the University has advocated a clear link to those principles which will empower staff to deliver the outcomes and achievements we all seek for this institution.

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

(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;
(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.

The unions have lodged their logs of claims and we are working through these. We have mutually agreed to address the parts of the Enterprise Agreement associated with performance and conduct as a first priority, including performance development, probation, promotion, performance concerns, unsatisfactory performance, misconduct/serious misconduct and disciplinary action. We are also currently considering indigenous employment and our approach to the impact of domestic violence on staff.

All parties are bargaining in good faith with a view to making progress.

We will continue to keep you updated as the process continues.

Yours sincerely,

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