Deakin University and the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) have provisionally agreed on terms for a new enterprise agreement.
The new agreement will include a 3% annual salary increase, and a $1200 initial increase to all salary bands
(pro rata for non full-time staff). This reflects CPI (estimated at 2.5%), plus 0.5% per year which, together with the $1200 increase, works out at around at an average increase of 13.95% over the four years, or nearly 3.5% a year. The top-up payment means the percentage increase will be higher for lower-paid staff, and lower for staff on higher pay scales.
Other key features include a revised academic workloads model, introduction of domestic/family violence leave, the creation of 40 FTE (full time equivalent) teaching scholar positions, streamlined redundancy and disciplinary provisions, and increased paid partner leave.
Deakin’s Vice-Chancellor Jane den Hollander said the new agreement is ‘fair and sustainable’.
NTEU Victorian Secretary Dr Colin Long welcomed the improvements achieved through a robust negotiation process and was philosophical about the impact of recent budget decisions such as the efficiency dividend imposed by the former Gillard government:
In the end this agreement came after significant government funding cuts so we had to deal with the reality of that. It really did undermine the sector and the union.
While the deal is somewhat less than the preferred benchmark of 4% recently achieved Curtin, Central Queensland and Edith Cowan universities, it’s somewhat greater than the 2% being offered by Monash University and the 2.5% being offered by RMIT University.
On the back of the Deakin deal, the NTEU either obviously or apparently tried to sweeten up a deal it had already agreed at Charles Sturt University, in which CSU committed to a 1.4% pay rise for all staff in December this year, on top of the 1.5% cent rise paid in April. Staff will receive a 3% increase every December ending in 2016.
On reflection, the NTEU claims the real increase amounts only to 2.6% because the agreement needs to be backdated to June 2012 when the previous EBA expired. But that figure doesn’t include a 4% increase staff received in June 2012, which was bought forward from September by management.
Whatever, union members at CSU – covered by NTEU and the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) – voted strongly in favour of the original deal – around half of the approximate 4000 staff took part in the ballot, which was approved with 61.2% of the vote.
In the way of these things, CPSU was quick to make a point, with CPSU senior industrial officer Andrew Holland saying he was surprised by the margin the agreement was passed by because he assumed the NTEU had a greater sway of staff on the ground. But he said it showed that “staff realised it was not a bad agreement in the context of this round”.
In a tough negotiating environment, we assume the benchmark is around 3% plus a little bit.