Managing change at the University of Sydney

Managing change at the University of Sydney – June 2016 (PDF version)

Change at work can be disruptive and stressful for those involved. For this very reason your union, the PSA/CPSU, ensured clauses in your Enterprise Agreement to assist in dealing with the process. While these clauses are not perfect, they are what we and the university need to work with when facing change. However, we find that, often through lack of knowledge regarding the clauses, change programs can be run inappropriately, which often has negative flow-on effects for our members.

Often members are also unsure as to their rights in a change process. We would advise all members to let the PSA/CPSU know immediately if there are changes proposed or being implemented in your workplace. With active union involvement, and members acting collectively, we have a much better chance to ensure processes are undertaken correctly, to have our voices heard, and to influence the process to benefit our members.  It is impossible to help our members if we don’t know change is taking place, and it is much harder to act effectively if we are not involved from the start.

Having your union involved is a legally enforceable right. Active union workplaces run more smoothly because everybody knows they must play by the rules. In this case, your Enterprise Agreement provides those rules.

The two consultation stages of the managing change clauses in your Enterprise Agreement are the time for members and the union to provide feedback. We need to take these opportunities if there are elements we don’t like or think could be improved, changed or done away with all together.

True consultation means our feedback has the ability to influence the outcome of any proposed change and we work constantly to ensure the drivers of change genuinely consider our member’s feedback.

Below are extracts of the relevant clauses from page 54 of your Enterprise Agreement. Keep them handy so you can identify the triggers for a Change Proposal in your workplace. You can view a full copy HERE.

Part I: Managing change

310: Where the university proposes to introduce changes in programs, organisation, structure or technology that are likely to have a significant effect on staff, the university will consult those staff who are directly affected by the proposed changes.

For the purposes of this clause, “significant effects” include:

  • termination of employment; change to the composition, operation or size of the university’s workforce or to the skills required of staff; elimination or diminution of job opportunities (including opportunities for promotion or continuing employment); alteration of hours of work; and restructuring and/or relocation of work units.

311: The consultation process will provide directly affected staff and their unions with a genuine and timely opportunity to exchange relevant information, participate in discussions, and provide feedback on change proposals and implementation arrangements, and to have their views taken into account before decisions are made. The consultation process will be collegial, but consultation does not necessarily mean that agreement will be reached. If proposals put forward by staff or their unions cannot be agreed to, reasons will be given.

Consultation stage 1

313: For each proposed change of the kind referred to in clause 310 affecting more than one staff member, the university will prepare a Draft Change Proposal for consideration by and consultation with directly affected staff and their unions.

The Draft Change Proposal will outline the nature, rationale and expected outcomes of the proposed change, and include:

  • proposals to mitigate negative effects including training and redeployment; expected outcomes including expected advantages and disadvantages; ways to minimise any disadvantages to work health and safety in the workplace; financial implications; the timing of the consultation and timing of the proposed implementation of change; and implications for staff including changes in duties, number of staff, workload and/or work environment.

Consultation stage 2

314: The university will give prompt consideration to matters raised by staff and their unions and will prepare a Revised Change Proposal, which will include a summary of the matters raised by staff and their unions and the university’s response including any amendments to the proposed workplace change outlined in the Draft Change Proposal, and a draft implementation plan. The draft implementation plan will specify the way in which the proposed change is to be implemented, the timing of implementation and a mechanism for evaluating the change with affected staff.

315: The university will consult with directly affected staff and their unions on the Revised Change Proposal and consider their views before making a final decision in relation to the proposed change and its implementation. A Final Change Plan will then be issued setting out the university’s decision and implementation plan. The Final Change Plan will also include a summary of the matters raised by staff and/or the unions and the university’s response to those matters.

Things to remember

If a change is proposed in your workplace or is underway, let your union know immediately. Working collectively with your union is the best way to negate any negative effects from changes in your workplace.

Ask your colleagues to join the PSA/CPSU today. Being a PSA/CPSU member is the best protection for professional staff if you are having problems at work. It also gives you a say in your working conditions when we negotiate your new Enterprise Agreement, so if you are not a member you need to join today! Join the PSA/CPSU HERE.


PSA/CPSU Branch President:

Grant Wheeler –

PSA/CPSU Member Support Centre:

1300 772 679