Wednesday, 20 September 2017

University of Sydney Enterprise Bargaining update

University of Sydney Enterprise Bargaining update – September 2017 (PDF version)

Dear University of Sydney staff colleagues,

On Tuesday 12 September, after close of business, the university revised the Enterprise Agreement offer previously announced to the university staff, and it contacted the CPSU NSW seeking a response.

The offer regarding salary included a flat-rate component. It involved a $500 salary up-lift (a flat-rate pay rise of $500) for HEO levels 1-5 (Professional Staff) and for Academic Levels A and B in July 2018, while deducting the $500 sign-on bonus the university had agreed to pay all staff.

The CPSU NSW had specifically requested any pay offer include a flat rate component to protect the lowest paid staff at the university from cost-of-living pressures. However, as a union exclusively representing Professional Staff, the CPSU NSW was affronted by the university’s offer because it clearly discriminated against Professional Staff – it provided a flat-rate advantage to Academic staff up to level B ($121,000.00 pa), but only for Professional Staff paid up to $80,000.00 a year. We nevertheless resolved to take the university’s offer to our members today for their consideration, together with our advice on its inequity.

Yesterday morning, shambolically, the university advised the CPSU NSW that it had once again changed its offer and asked us to take this further amended offer to our members today. The offer included:

  •  Retention of the $500 sign-on bonus (as previously announced to all staff by the University) for continuing and fixed-term staff (pro-rata for part time staff)
  • 2.1% salary increases to all continuing and fixed-term staff in July 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 (as previously announced to all staff by the University)
  • An additional $500 salary ‘uplift’ for Professional Staff at HEO levels 1-6 and Academic Levels up to A step 6. This is a payment that raises your salary level, and not just a bonus.
    • As discussed above, originally this only extended to HEO5 for Professional Staff who currently earn less than $80,000, but at the same time, extended to cover Academic Level B who earn upwards of $120,000. The university has now accepted a more equitable approach towards the flat rate.
  • A temporary extension of redeployment time for Professional Staff made redundant.
    • Under the current Agreement, if your position is declared redundant and you wish to be redeployed, you spend a maximum of 12 weeks in the redeployment pool and if you have not secured a redeployment position you are made involuntarily redundant. If you are a Professional Staff member at HEO1-7 this condition extends your time in the redeployment pool from 12 weeks to nine months, but this condition will only be in effect until December 2019.

Our members have just met and agreed to the following motion:

  • CPSU members accept the university’s salary offer, including currently negotiated conditions and in principle agreements to date during Bargaining, but that this be conditional on:
  1. An undertaking from the university that bargaining continues beyond this decision until the CPSU’s outstanding claims, and the existing in-principle agreements are fully addressed; and
  2. That the Redeployment clause extends to staff up to and including HEO 9; and
  3. The university will bargain in good faith, and that all further negotiations will take place at the bargaining table

The CPSU NSW wishes to highlight to the wider university community the caveats expressed in the above motion. We regard the conduct of the university towards transparent good-faith bargaining over the last few weeks – and especially the last week – to have been severely wanting. Therefore, as a caveat to our acceptance, we have made it a condition that the university continues to negotiate around the bargaining table and in good faith and with appropriate commitments of time to deal with the MANY other unfinished bargaining and drafting matters that do not relate to the financial package but do relate to conditions of employment.

Why we have accepted this motion

The CPSU NSW acknowledges the offer presented to us by the university is not ideal. However, we believe that the overall package would provide a better Enterprise Agreement than has been agreed to at any other Australian university in this round of bargaining and, after much soul-searching and reviewing of the process thus far and its likely future, we feel that the financial package is unlikely to improve beyond its current form.

All our existing conditions have been maintained and there have been some significant wins, including in the following areas: parental leave, gender and pay equity, change management processes, flexible working arrangements, performance and development processes, super for fixed-term staff, management of workplace conduct problems, inter-campus travel, expanded definition of ‘family’ in relation to leave, workload oversight, skills training, professional staff development fund transparency and some (not enough) improvements in relation to casual pay and opportunities to convert to continuing employment.

We acknowledge the problems that remain in many areas, especially for casuals, and our many academic casuals in particular, but it is our judgment, having engaged fully with the process and its many parts and participants, that we have taken matters as far as we believe they can practicably be taken this time around.

The CPSU NSW will be releasing further details of the significant wins and improvements to our members later this week and over the course of any future negotiations. You can JOIN the CPSU NSW online HERE to receive these updates.

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

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