Proposed salary increases for staff to form part of the new University of Adelaide Enterprise Agreement

Words by Jenny Nguyen and Tom Haskell

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The University of Adelaide Enterprise Agreement 2014–2017 is due to expire by the end of the academic year. Negotiations for the new agreement had commenced three months prior to expiration, with the ninth formal committee convening earlier this week.

Deputy Vice-chancellor Pasquale Quester sent out an email to staff earlier today informing members that an ‘in principle’ agreement had been reached.

‘We are pleased to advise that we have reached an in-principle agreement on all matters, including proposed salary increases.”

The announcement follows what has been reported as “relatively brief, productive and co-creative round of meetings”. South Australian negotiations have gone relatively smoothly when compared to other states.

Earlier this month, tertiary staff at the University of Sydney, Western University of Sydney went on strike over pay and working conditions. While in Western Australia, the Fair Work commission has terminated Murdoch University’s enterprise agreement.

The University of Adelaide and Unions will now follow through with internal approval procedures before making a detailed announcement about the content of the proposed agreement to the community. This will be voted upon by all staff members.

This comes after the NTEU called a special general meeting of all union members in the UofA branch to discuss and plan their response towards the University’s decision not to accept their offer presented in the Enterprise Bargaining meetings. In a statement released online, the NTEU claimed that the University was exploiting the Union’s willingness to avoid a lengthy negotiation process by seizing ‘an opportunity to limit engagement with the broad spectrum of entitlements covered by the Enterprise Agreement.’

According to the Fair Work Commission, the agreement is negotiated between employers and employees about their pay rates and conditions of employment.

“Enterprise agreements can be tailored to meet the needs of particular enterprises. An agreement must leave an employee better off overall when compared to the relevant award or awards”

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The NTEU’s poster for Adelaide bargaining negotiations.

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) sent out an email to its members informing that the next meeting to approve the new agreement will occur on 3 October. General Secretary Grahame McCulloch will be visiting Adelaide from Melbourne to talk about the new agreement with union members.

Back in August, the Fair Work Commission terminated Murdoch University’s enterprise agreement. Fears have arisen within NTEU branches that this decision will have immediate implications for about 30 universities across Australia. Things traditionally present within EB agreements such as union controls over management decisions, fixed-term contracts, and rules concerning how staff can be disciplined are now in doubt given this decision.

Members of the NTEU across Australia have all been invited to a special briefing on the ‘implications of the Fair Work Commission’s decision to terminate the Murdoch University enterprise agreement’. This briefing is to occur next Tuesday in Napier G03 for UofA members.

More to come.

Adelaide University student magazine since 1932. Edited by Nicholas Birchall, Felix Eldridge, Taylor Fernandez and Larisa Forgac. Email us at onditmag@gmail.com

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