The University of Newcastle, Australia

Navigating the course to agreement

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

At last week’s enterprise bargaining meeting, the bargaining team undertook a stocktake of the progress that's been made to date. We are pleased to report that through good faith bargaining, we have achieved in-principle agreement for approximately 80 percent of clauses.

Prof John Germov and Tina Crawford

This week, discussions progressed with a focus on our recently reported financial position. As many of the clauses in our enterprise agreements have financial implications, these need to be considered very closely and in the broader context of our financial performance and funding environment. The University’s financial health is sound, however it is our responsibility to exercise appropriate restraint while we wait to see the impact of caps on Commonwealth funded places. Our aim is to achieve fair and sustainable enterprise agreements.

We are also looking to introduce increased flexibility for individual staff to cash out an amount of accrued annual leave at their request. Of course, we realise that taking regular annual leave is very important to health and well-being, but we also know that life sometimes presents challenges that additional finances can help to alleviate.

In addition, we are close to in principle agreement around Academic Workload and will continue discussions on a proposed new category of employment for Academic staff – Industry and Clinical Educators.

As we progress through the final stages of bargaining, we will be proposing changes to the enterprise agreements that will support early and more meaningful communication about performance and development which, with the support of improvements to our PRD process, we believe will deliver real benefits to staff.

Ensuring UON continues to be a fair and equitable place to work with generous terms and conditions for our staff is our priority. Reaching agreement on the remaining 20 percent will require a concentrated effort from all parties and a commitment to continuing to bargain in good faith.

We look forward to providing you with further updates on progress over the coming weeks.

Prof John Germov, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic; Education and Arts)
Tina Crawford, Director, People and Workforce Strategy

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