Thursday, 2 June 2022

Bargaining update: Southern Cross University

At yesterday’s Enterprise Bargaining meeting, your CPSU NSW Delegates outlined our position on Southern Cross University (SCU) management’s proposed changes to the Performance Management and Misconduct Processes. The CPSU NSW’s changes seek to ensure the clauses are clearer in interpretation and application, while not giving up hard-fought protections. SCU management agreed with most of our changes.

On one matter – SCU management’s proposal to remove two internal review committees – your CPSU NSW Delegates advised that we will consider this removal ONLY IF SCU management representatives give favourable consideration to our proposed leave provisions for stillbirth and miscarriage. We believe that we can achieve the same level of protections for members that these clauses proport through Dispute Resolution and Fair Work proceedings where required.

SCU management has uploaded its proposed leave provisions on the university’s Enterprise Agreement webpage HERE (staff login required).

It is important to note that SCU proposal: Leave Entitlements is the university’s preferred bargaining outcome. However, it has not been agreed to by either union. The elements that remain contentious for the CPSU NSW are:

Personal Leave

SCU management’s proposal seeks to enforce new requirements to provide a reason for the taking of personal leave beyond ‘not fit for duty’. We believe this is an unnecessary invasion of our members’ right to privacy. Further, management intends to remove the provisions which require a medical certificate after the third consecutive day of personal leave and replace it with an ambiguous clause which will give your supervisor the right to request documentation for ANY absence, no matter the duration. We strongly believe this will be inequitably applied across the university and will continue to challenge this amendment.

Long Service Leave

SCU management is proposing to give supervisors the right to direct you to take accrued LSL without any of the protections in our current Enterprise Agreement. Its draft clause means it can effectively compel you to take any and all of your accrued LSL with six months’ notice, regardless of your personal circumstances. Further, management also seeks to limit your right to take LSL at a time of your own choosing by limiting it to requests for leave of four weeks or more. This is a significant diminution of conditions which directly contradicts its own claim for “Leave entitlements to be consistent with current Enterprise Agreement”.

Parental Leave

The CPSU NSW continues to assert our claim for an increase in leave provided to employees who experience still birth (12 weeks’ leave) and the insertion of a clause to provide employees who experience miscarriage leave of up to five days per instance. There has been movement across the sector in this space and we don’t believe our members should be left behind. Miscarriage leave is now standard in the NSW Public Sector and indeed, has been incorporated into the Fair Work Act under Compassionate Leave. It is our firm view that improving our leave provisions in this way will increase the availability of the workplace for women.


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