Monday, 18 September 2017

University of Newcastle – Enterprise bargaining update

Uni of Newcastle Enterprise bargaining update – Sept 2017 (PDF version)

Your union, the CPSU NSW, met with the university representatives and other bargaining representatives on 13 September 2017 to begin substantive bargaining for a new Professional Staff Enterprise Agreement.

Activity began in May and there have been a number of meetings as preparation and background to develop protocols for bargaining with a view to avoiding the delays that have characterised previous negotiations. We also received preparatory briefings on the university’s financial situation and sector-wide contingencies.

The university has explained the factors affecting its current financial position, and the likely impacts of current Federal Government proposals. The university has costed our claims in their totality and characterised our modest claims as “extensive”, emphasising concerns about additional costs. An additional briefing was given by the COO and CFO. This of course is how EB sessions begin. The CPSU NSW emphasised there are a number of issues in our log of claims that go to the improvement of the working environment and increase in job satisfaction, and have little or no cost impact. We approach discussions knowing that it is rare to achieve all items in our Log of Claims and our negotiations will be modified in line with instructions from the CPSU NSW membership. In this first meeting, each party prioritised the issues generally, and particularly the clauses in the current Agreement using a “red/orange/green” classification to distinguish the level of change and discussion required on each topic. Your responses to our earlier survey allowed us to prioritise your concerns around Classification, Organisational Change, Redeployment/Redundancy, Categories of Employment, Flexible Work, Union Rights, and of course the Salary Rates to be Paid, seeking improvement in each of these areas.

The university has prioritised its aim to streamline PART B Performance and Conduct by removing or limiting the use of Committees and Inquiry Officers. They aim to address changes affecting only one person in PART D Managing Change as well as streamlining that general change process without affecting entitlements. The university also aims to modify  PART F Working Environment to simplify the issues they see as procedural or policy matters. With the increase in online work they wish to review PART H employment categories to provide for hybrid positions that cross academic/professional boundaries. The university also questions the contemporary relevance of the Classification Descriptors. All of this will make for some robust negotiations in the coming weeks.

We set a schedule of further meetings on a fortnightly basis, the next being 27 September with an agenda to discuss the ATSI Employment clause, Superannuation, Flexibility, Performance Review and Development, Job Redesign, and Incapacity. At the end of each meeting we will set the agenda for the next and we will continue to report to you on progress.

We will also be calling General Meetings or conducting further surveys as necessary when the issues under discussion require further direction from you, and you are reminded to contact your bargaining representatives at any time if you have any concerns affecting the substantive matters or the process.

This is your Agreement being negotiated by your CPSU NSW representatives. Stay involved in the process to ensure we can take your voice to the table. At the end of the negotiation you will be asked to vote on the package and we want that to be an informed and deliberate vote.

Help maintain a strong union voice. Ask your colleagues to stand with you by joining the CPSU NSW today.

Your bargaining representatives are:

Staff representatives

Sue Freeman –
Nick Koster –

CPSU NSW staff

Ron Hunter –
Jann Jeffries –

Please note, CPSU NSW members are also members of the Public Service Association of NSW. The PSA is the Associated Body for, and resources and manages, the CPSU NSW