Bargaining Update & Members' Meeting

As at 25 March 2024, the Swinburne Higher Education draft negotiated agreement includes:

  • Restored redundancy entitlements for all
  • Restored right to conversion for fixed-term staff
  • Restored misconduct investigation committee
  • Gain: introduction of strong academic and intellectual freedom rights
  • Leave
    • Gain: Substitution of Australia Day
    • Gain: Compassionate Leave up from 3 days to 5 days per occasion
    • Gain: LSL minimum period reduced from one month to one week and opportunity to arrange for 1 day
    • Gain: Parental Leave – improvements for permanent care and fostering
    • Gain: Gender affirmation Leave – 50 days
    • Gain: Cultural and Ceremonial leave – increased from 3 days unpaid to 10 days paid

For Professional Staff:

  • Mixed: Span of hours start time extended from 8am to 7am – However, working between 7am and 8am is to be by agreement only.
  • Gain: Workload – can raise issue if unreasonable, excessive or unsafe
  • Restored: Reclassification process restored
  • Restored: Automatic incremental progression
  • Gain: LSL – protections on directions to take leave
  • Restored: Redundancy/redeployment salary maintenance restored to 2 years
  • Loss: Income maintenance scheme deleted
  • Gain: On-call allowance – for Level 9 and below, 15%, by agreement only
  • Mixed: Work-from-home rights: Must be granted if it can be reasonably accommodated

For Academic Staff:

  • Gain: Academic Tutors will be converted to Education Specialist (ES) role at B1
  • Restored/Mixed: Opportunity for ATs to apply to transfer to T & R through promotion process
  • Mixed: 30 ongoing FTE Education Specialist roles to be created (limited to Swinburne sessionals); Minimum appointment will be 0.4 FTE; Appointed at A6 without doctorate, B1 with doctorate
  • Mixed: Probation – reduced from 2 years to 12 months plus possible 12 month extension
  • Loss: Promotion Application threshold up from 1 year to 2 years; Gain: Must take into account career path, workload allocation and discipline norms
  • Gain: Unsatisfactory Performance process cannot be initiated if based principally on student evaluations
  • Gain: Academic Freedom Strong definition and rights/ Protected from misconduct and serious misconduct
  • Loss/Mixed: Labour Day reinstated; however, at the cost of the two days leave over the Christmas shutdown
  • Mixed: Academic workload matters – guardrails:
  • Gain: Workload procedure becomes enforceable
  • Gain: 1710 hours down from 1800
  • Gain: Must be able to be performed on average in 37.5 hour week*
  • Gain: Annual hours adjusted for all forms of leave*
  • Gain: All required work will be allocated*
  • Gain: Will reflect time necessary to do the work*
  • Mixed: Teaching and teaching related duties to include educational leadership, development and scholarship*
  • Retained: 15-hour max teaching delivery per week
  • Retained: 36-week cap on teaching and teaching delivery for T&R
  • New/Mix: 42-week cap on teaching and teaching delivery for ES*
  • Gain: No requirement to stand in for others if it would take you over load*
  • Retained: Not required to work weekends or public holidays
  • Retained: T&R not required to teach over summer
  • Retained: No trimesters
  • Retained: Allocations for online and face to face to be equivalent
  • Gain: Review process with Union representation*
  • New/Mixed: Academic Workload Advisory Group (AWAG) established

Ext. Funded Research Staff:

  • Gain/Mixed: New Ongoing Contingent category of employment. Must be: Grant funded, 3 years of prior employment, 12 months of funding secure; Redundancy pay (caps at 16 weeks); 9 months gap funding if imminent and reasonable prospect of more funding being obtained.
  • Gain: Research Assistants - $1300 uplift per year for 3 years

In Summary – EA Negotiations: Sticking Points


  • No increase in the pay offer (only a shift from September to July).
  •  Concern remains over a clause that prevents us from raising disputes about any changes expressly provided for in the new agreement.
  • No answer to our question of whether the removal of ‘basic’ to the lecturing definition will have monetary implications.
  •  Rejection of our claim for 2024 transition arrangements for existing staff who are working from home. 
  •  No uplift to second or third year convenorship allocations.
  •  Removal of 5% min for research allocations.  
  • Reduction of research max from 70 to 65%.
  •  No agreement to a suitable clause for sessional marking that ensures that all hours worked in respect of marking are paid at the applicable rate.
  •  Rejected the Inclusion of a clause to the effect that where a part-time employee regularly works additional hours, their time fraction of employment will be increased.  
  • Problematic Definitions:
    • Continuous service
    • Independent Investigator 
    • Leadership employees
    • Reference to days means working days 
  •  No agreement that Teaching and Research employees will ordinarily be workloaded to teach across two semesters and Education Specialists across two semesters and one term, unless varied by mutual agreement.
  •  No agreement that named service roles will not be subsumed within the 10% service allocation including unit management.
  • Potentially involuntary summer semester for Teaching only staff.

  •  Serious misconduct: Staff only to receive the findings of an external investigation report rather than the report itself.

  •  There is no genuine grandparenting clause regarding research allocation.

  •  We have yet to negotiate the MOU. That means that important questions, including, for example, the operation of the Innovation and Engagement allocation, still need to be answered.

A members' meeting has been called for Monday 8 April 2024. Check your email for login details.  




More information