Our Proposed Enterprise Agreement
I am pleased to confirm that you will have the opportunity to have your say next week on a new proposed Enterprise Agreement (EA) for the University.
Following the vote in September, the Bargaining Group and its members have continued to negotiate a replacement EA for all staff. As a result of those discussions, both the University and members of the Bargaining Group have made concessions from their previous positions, in the interests of reaching an agreement, to provide certainty for staff on the terms and conditions of employment over the coming years.
As a result of these efforts, all Bargaining Group members, including the NTEU, Together Queensland, and ETU, are supporting the proposed enterprise agreement to go to vote.
The terms of the agreement put to the vote in September reflected a balance, by maintaining a number of generous benefits including in relation to 5 weeks annual leave, 6 months paid parental leave, up to 78 weeks' severance and notice for redundancy and 17% superannuation, while providing for fiscally responsible pay increases.
The proposed EA that you will now have the opportunity to vote on includes a number of additional benefits for staff, including providing for an additional 2% pay increase on 30 June 2021, additional loadings to be paid to many professional and technical staff for ordinary hours worked between 6 pm and 7 pm and providing for the gradual introduction of minimum thresholds for research activity that teaching and research academic staff are expected to meet.
If approved by a majority of staff, the payment rates from 30 September 2017 (reflecting a 1.5% increase) will be applied administratively before approval of the proposed EA by the Fair Work Commission, backdated to 30 September 2017. The University has been clear that we want to move to a vote as soon as possible, so that the EA can be finalised and we can provide staff with this pay increase in time for Christmas.
I encourage you all to have your say, and to vote "Yes" to approve the Proposed EA.
A copy of the proposed EA, the James Cook University Enterprise Agreement 2016, which reflects the additional changes made since the vote in September, is available here. It is important that you read the proposed EA in full, and ask any questions that you have about the agreement. If you wish to take time during your workday to consider the proposed EA you will be given the opportunity to do so.
Staff forums to provide you with further explanation and an opportunity to ask questions about the Proposed EA will be held on Tuesday at 10.00am and Wednesday at 10.00am (video-conferenced to all other required locations). Further details on locations will be provided shortly.
When considering the terms of the proposed EA, I encourage you to review the explanations provided to the Bargaining Group about the changes that have been made to the Proposed EA following the vote in September, in letters dated 8 and 13 November 2017.
In addition, all staff should ensure that they are familiar with the explanatory documents first provided to staff in September, which discuss differences from the current Enterprise Agreement, the James Cook University Enterprise Agreement 2013. Those documents are available here, and need to be read in light of the changes discussed in the letters of 8 and 13 November.
If you speak English as a second language a translator can be organised to assist you. If you are under 18 years of age, please provide the Proposed EA and the related documents to your parents/guardian.
Copies of the relevant Modern Awards, the Higher Education Industry - Academic Staff - Award 2010 and the Higher Education Industry - General Staff – Award 2010, are available through the Fair Work Commission website. General information from the Fair Work Commission about Awards and Enterprise Agreements is also available here.
Voting will be conducted by confidential online ballot, and voting will be open at 9 am on Wednesday, 22 November 2017 and will close at 4 pm on Friday, 24 November 2017. Staff will be asked to answer "Yes" or "No" to the question "Do you approve the proposed James Cook University Enterprise Agreement 2016?”
Cirrena IVS, the independent voting provider that conducted the previous ballot, will also conduct this ballot, and further information will be provided to you about how you can cast your vote in the coming days. Any questions about the agreement or the voting process can be directed to email@example.com or by telephone on 4781 4129.
As I mentioned, considerable work has been done by the Bargaining Group, and I am pleased that we are now in a position where we have the support of all Bargaining Group members, including the NTEU, Together Queensland, and ETU, to take the proposed enterprise agreement to vote. I therefore encourage you all to have your say on the proposed agreement and to vote yes to this agreement.
Professor Sandra Harding
Vice Chancellor and President
James Cook University
Australia – Singapore