Your Professional Staff Bargaining Team met with the university and NTEU over Tuesday and Wednesday this week to progress negotiations for your next Enterprise Agreement.
The university reduced its pay offer to 1.8 per cent from the previous 1.9 per cent a year for four years. The unions countered with 2.1 per cent a year for four years.
There are a range of clauses the university is seeking to clean up, or make easier to understand, while not changing the entitlements or protections for Professional Staff. These include recognition of prior service for Long Service Leave; Parental Leave; and Personal/Carer’s Leave.
More substantial changes that are less of a concern after these two meetings include the Span of Hours for Professional Staff. The university has indicated it wants to broaden this for a limited number of staff, and not generally across the board. This includes no changes for Professional Staff in libraries.
The university has acknowledged this a genuine concern, with the My Voice survey indicating workloads and bullying are key concerns. Tools for Professional Staff workloads that at unique to Professional Staff (academics don’t have these) include:
Also included is a workload review clause, which the unions are looking to improve so Professional Staff can effectively review their workload when it becomes too much either through intensification or ongoing overtime. The unions’ proposal includes requiring managers to take into consideration a range of concerns when asking for overtime; the right to refuse unreasonable overtime; the ability to raise workload concerns and have these reviewed if the manager doesn’t respond.
The university is seeking to remove the review panel and clarify the clause to allow a more proactive involvement in managing concerns around Professional Staff’s medical issues that may impact on their work. The removal of the review panel is a major concern for the CPSU NSW, as well as how interventionist the university may become in the personal medical issues Professional Staff face from time to time. The union’s will review this carefully to ensure that staff have the best protections built into the agreement.
Further changes have been flagged by the university to remove the review panels, and ‘streamline’ the process.
Part of this includes delegating punitive measures for minor misconduct. The proposed details will be provided shortly to the unions and we will review their proposals carefully.
Some key changes the university is wanting relate to student services where sometimes students are often engaged by the university. This includes gym instructors, coaches, student ambassadors, residential staff and exam invigilators. Their claim is for a broadened span of hours and reducing the thee-hour minimum engagement to one hour. The CPSU NSW requested the university prioritise students for these roles in light of the one-hour engagement already applying to students. The university has committed to ensuring most of these positions are advertised to students prior to any external advertising. Your Professional Staff Bargaining Team will review any proposal carefully.
This remains a key concern for the NTEU and considerable discussions will occur over the next few weeks. Managing academic workloads is particularly complex due to there being no set hour of work; no span of hours; no shift penalties for evenings or weekends and no overtime. There is also no general Casual Conversion for academics, which only the CPSU NSW won for Professional Staff many years ago before the NTEU was provided competitive coverage under John Howard’s IR changes which progressive led to WorkChoices.
As your Professional Staff Union, the CPSU NSW has decades of experience in supporting Professional Staff across all levels of the public education system in NSW. You can help your union by forwarding this update to your colleagues; asking all Professional Staff you know to JOIN the CPSU NSW and provide feedback and concerns to your Bargaining Team (details below).
Your Professional Staff union can achieve more for members and protect members’ conditions where your union is stronger.