The University of Newcastle, Australia

Enterprise bargaining update

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

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

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Dear colleagues,

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.

The University is pleased to report that positive progress continued to be made at our recent Enterprise Bargaining meetings.

At the Enterprise Bargaining meeting held on 13 August 2013, the following matters were discussed:

 University's Financial Position

The University's Chief Financial Officer delivered a presentation to bargaining representatives on the University's financial position.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment

Discussions commenced on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment is of significant importance to the University, particularly in establishing and maintaining a workplace environment that values Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' cultures, aspirations and contributions. To achieve this, the University is keen to ensure that the clause in the Agreements have a clear link to the University's Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), the Indigenous Employment Strategy (IEP) and the NeW Directions Strategic Plan 2013-2015.

The University will aim to continue to improve representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, guided by the objectives outlined in the IEP: 'Attraction and Recruitment', 'Environment and Retention' and 'Development and Extension'.

Classification Structure and Review

Bargaining representatives are having positive discussions on the classification and review of Professional Staff positions. We are making good progress on an approach to ensure that decisions on the classification of positions are consistent, transparent and objective.

Domestic Violence

Significant progress has been made in relation to a new clause dealing with Domestic Violence. The University recognises that staff members may experience situations of violence or abuse in their personal life that affect their attendance or performance at work. The proposed clause commits the University to providing support to staff members who experience domestic violence, in particular, providing staff with access to Personal Leave for medical appointments, legal proceedings and other activities related to domestic violence; flexible work arrangements; changes of work location and contact details to avoid harassing contact; and access to the University's Employee Assistance Program.

Bargaining representatives appear to be close to agreement in relation to these matters, although the University has not agreed to union claims for an extra leave entitlement, as the current Personal Leave entitlements are more generous than those in similar organisations.

At the Enterprise Bargaining meeting held on 26 August 2013, the following matters were discussed:

Performance Development Framework

The parties had a useful discussion about an overall framework for performance development and management.

Staff Development

The unions outlined their positions for their preferred approach for development of professional staff including resourcing of development activities. The University will consider these proposals and respond in the coming weeks.

Domestic Violence

Further progress was made with the Domestic Violence clause and it appears that this is close to agreement.

Priorities for future meetings

In the interest of continuing to make progress, priorities established for discussion at future meetings include:

  • Employment Arrangements
  • Managing Change
  • Defence Force Leave
  • Superannuation

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

The University Enterprise Bargaining Team:

Andrew Parfitt

John Germov

Tina Crawford

Paul Munro

Greg Kerr

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