Bargaining Update # 8

Our Swinburne – An Agreement that Works for You

It was another tense week of bargaining.

In this week's discussion on Academic Workloads, we presented NTEU claims to increase service and teaching-related allocations, safeguard unallocated time, and ensure that the nexus between research and/or scholarship and teaching is not broken.

Throughout, management's bargaining team were at pains to have us agree in principle to an education focussed role. We cannot and will not agree to this proposal in the abstract.

Management's communication to staff on Thursday asserted that new education focussed roles 'are pivotal to ensure we can create new and exciting education delivery models.' We beg to differ. Our collective experience over the past three years has demonstrated that nothing within the current structures prevents this. 

Other matters, including teaching buy-out for research grants, preventing the shifting of research goalposts without grandfathering past practices, and reducing casualisation, have been argued but not resolved. As this suggests, both parties remain at loggerheads regarding where we see the future of the Agreement and, indeed, the University.

Management's vague promise of developing 'other more contemporary ways of ensuring academic workloads are reasonable and appropriate' paradoxically tells us everything and nothing. We will continue to fight for an agreement that works for you and a university that upholds its promise as a public institution with obligations to its communities, including its staff.

There was one bright spot this week. Management has reversed its original proposal to remove the reclassification committee for professional staff, but other aspects of the reclassification clause remain problematic.

Importantly, this is only one amendment of the many offensive proposals put on the table by management. We urge them here, as we did on Wednesday, to take a hard look at the radical agenda they have adopted and to consider if this is indeed the approach it wants to take with its staff. A good university operates on collegiality and respect, not empty rhetoric and gameplay. 

While this is a bargaining update, we cannot ignore the latest communication to HDR students and supervisors informing them that HDR students will no longer have access to their desks and must hope instead to find one in their HDR 'neighbourhood'.

In the context of management wanting everyone on campus, this is a predictable but contradictory edict that professional staff have also faced. We will raise our objections next week.

More information