Tuesday, 23 August 2022

CPSU NSW update: UNSW Enterprise Bargaining

Negotiating parties met for two hours on Wednesday 17 August 2022.

New Industrial Officer

The CPSU NSW UNSW bargaining team has a new Industrial Officer. Michael Cope has joined our bargaining team. Michael encourages any member to reach out at any time about any workplace matter. Michael can be contacted below:

0419 927 076

Workloads and Reviews

The CPSU NSW continued discussions on how workload reviews may proceed. The university adamantly opposed any such process. Increases in workloads since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have been a major talking point. However, the university has engaged with the CPSU to work through our claims on workloads to reach an agreement that would benefit members.

CPSU NSW Tables Claim for 15 Days Paid Pandemic Leave at UNSW

As previously reported, the CPSU NSW is seeking a new 15 day paid pandemic leave entitlement for professional staff at UNSW. The leave is in addition to other leave entitlements.

The claim was put to UNSW at a bargaining meeting on 3 August following the adoption of an equivalent claim by Western Sydney University earlier this year.

The purpose of the CPSU NSW’s proposal is to build on UNSW’s current policy settings and ensure that professional staff have access to a minimum quantum of additional paid leave in the event of future pandemic events.

The NSW Government response, particularly the isolation requirements attached to health orders, demonstrates the need for additional and targeted paid leave entitlements above the ordinary sick leave available to staff – and our claim seeks to do just that.

Union Rights

The university raised concerns over in the inclusion of a Union Rights clause in the new agreement, effectively refusing any paid union delegate training.

The unions explained the mutual benefits of union training leave for the employer-employee relationship. In summary the unions are seeking:

  • The ability for union members to attend paid meetings on campus and online to undertake union activities; and
  • staff affected by changes in the workplace have union meetings in paid time in respect of meeting with union representatives

The university has taken a dismissive approach to staff undertaking union activities, voicing concerns that any paid time off is akin to having a paid holiday. The university’s attitude remains at odds with other universities actively engaging with unions in bargaining and agreeing to the inclusion of a Union Rights clause.

The CPSU NSW is adamant that the rights of delegates and the union to organize and engage in trade union activities is not stifled by UNSW management and negotiations will continue.

Timeline for future negotiations

Negotiations are set to resume on 31 August. The CPSU UNSW bargaining team is looking forward to the day when we can take a satisfactory agreement to our members for review. However, this does not mean the CPSU NSW bargaining team will compromise the aspirations of CPSU NSW members at UNSW as expressed in our log of claims.

Yours in union,

Michael Cope, Alister Wareing, Kate Brown and Ellie Williams

Alister Wareing  

Ellie Williams

Kate Brown

Michael Cope

Kim Villanti

Community and Public Sector Union (NSW Branch)