17 September 2012
Australian Higher Education Industrial Association president and Curtin University vice-chancellor Jeanette Hacket says she would welcome a return to John Howard-era workplace agreements if it meant more flexibility to respond to student expectations. She said she also doubted that universities could afford the 7 % annual pay rises being demanded by the National Tertiary Education Union.
The view would be very much at this stage that enterprise agreements are significantly slowing down our capacity to be flexible. It’s hard to see that Australian higher education will be able to compete globally, both in terms of financial stability and output, if we don’t make changes.
Professor Hacket’s comments come as enterprise bargaining reaches a critical phase at Curtin, where staff have already rejected a pay offer which fell short of expectations.
Around half of the nation’s 39 universities have either begun bargaining or will enter negotiations within the next couple of months.