Bargaining Update # 3

Our Swinburne – An Agreement that Works for You

Reflecting on our Tuesday bargaining session with management representatives, we are increasingly concerned by the desire to simplify the agreement. Current clauses could and should be clarified, but the heavy emphasis on 'an agreement that is easy to understand' is management doublespeak for fewer employment protections.

Management has rewritten the agreement around 'key employment provisions and requirements' (our emphasis). This means many employment protections not deemed 'key' by management are outside their proposals and likely outside any future Enterprise Agreement if their claims are successful. Anything not in a future agreement becomes management policy – and management can change policies anytime. 

This is why we had major concerns when we examined proposals for working arrangements for professional staff this week. One of these relates to proposed changes to the Professional Staff reclassification committee. Many staff whose positions have evolved have used the current process to be reclassified to a higher HEW level. Management now wants the reclassification process to sit solely with P&C rather than an expert panel of P&C and union representatives.

What management presented on Tuesday deals with working conditions for Professional Staff (which you can view on the Wiki). This section is exceptionally light and omits critical employment protections, including:

·       Job redesign. Currently, there are protections for staff when positions are required to change significantly. This ensures that the staff member is consulted and suffers no loss of salary or conditions. There is no mention of this clause in management's proposal.

·       The workload clause. This important clause provides a measure of protection against excessive workloads. There is no mention of this clause in management's proposal.

In addition, management's email communication on Tuesday boldly claimed that the proposed change to 'ordinary span of hours' from 8 am to 6 pm, to 7 am to 8.30 pm for professional staff is intended 'to provide better work/life balance for employees’. There are many fairer ways to enable flexibility, including individual flexibility arrangements, which currently exist.

What this change to the span of hours is about is providing management flexibility to roster staff after 6 pm, without paying overtime. This would mean a pay cut for those who can least afford it: professional staff working in student-facing roles outside of ordinary time.

We will continue our discussions next Wednesday. To hear more, join us for morning tea on Thursday, 23 February (9.45 am - 10.30 am) at the Hammer & Swine. Catch up with colleagues and our bargaining campaign: ‘Our Swinburne – an agreement that works for you’.


More information

Related Posts