Friday, 19 August 2022

Slap in the Face

Before the first of what would become their trilogy of fights, Muhammed Ali said of his opponent:

“Joe Frazier is so ugly he should donate his face to the US Bureau of Wildlife”

It was considered historically as one of the great insults of all time.

Probably until yesterday when the University of Newcastle finally tabled its salary offer for Professional Staff.

Among a raft of smaller ancillary measures and much fanfare, the University have offered a measly 6 per cent increase to salaries across the term of the agreement and sign-on cash bonus of an undisclosed amount.

There is some fuzzy maths being perpetuated by the University about how much this represents per annum. The University are seeking a two year agreement starting presumably at best at the end of this year and running to the end of 2024. This means with your last agreement expiring and you last salary increase being in September 2021, effectively this 6 per cent covers a period of 3 years and 3 months.

Now within the University sits the Newcastle Business School, and within that work some highly credentialed academics with expertise in economics. And had management held one simple conversation with any of them they would have learnt that inflation for the twelve months to June 2022 was actually 6.1 per cent.

That means the cost of living over the last year has already risen by more than what the University is offering in wages for three years!

Furthermore your Union asked what was the proposal to maintain your employer superannuation contributions (currently 17 per cent), which you have historically made sacrifices to achieve, above the increasing compulsory contribution rate by the same margin, which is currently 10.5 per cent and set to rise to 12 per cent over the next three years. The University do not have one.

Earlier this week the University claimed that bargaining was 90 per cent complete. Lowball and uncompetitive offers like this mean the process is far from over.

You deserve a salary increase which maintains your real income in the face of spiralling cost-of-living pressure. The current offer does not even come close to doing this and would send you backwards.

FOOTNOTE: So incensed with Ali’s perceived lack of respect Joe Frazier went on to win by unanimous decision, handing the previously undefeated Ali his first professional loss, and showing that insults can inspire resolve.