PROGRESS TO DATE: MEETING: (14 May 2013)
To ensure negotiations continued steadily Professor Robyn McGuiggan attended this meeting by videoconference from Singapore. It was confirmed that the next meeting will be held in Cairns on 29 and 30 May 2013.
The joint Unions have rejected JCU’s offer to staff of 3% for each year of 2013, 2014 and 2015 and have lodged an order for Protected Industrial Action with the Fair Work Commission. JCU has not opposed their application and continue to bargain in good faith.
In the meantime, bargaining negotiations are reaching the final stages with a majority of claims and issues resolved and agreed in principal. It is hoped that a ‘heads of agreement’ may be reached at the upcoming meeting however this may depend upon the NTEU modifying their position on certain issues.
Outstanding issues where agreement is not yet reached:
Fixed Term Employment
The joint Union representatives have indicated that they will consider the early termination of fixed term appointments with notice should external funding be withdrawn, however in return have requested a longer notice period of 3 months rather than the 1 month put forward by JCU. JCU management will consider this proposal.
Academic Workforce issues
Your JCU management representatives expressed concern that the overall academic casual staff numbers referenced, do not truly reflect the ‘teaching casuals’ that the NTEU’s claim refers to and therefore the numbers for conversion are not viable.
The NTEU acknowledged this position and indicated they will review their claim once JCU provides figures outlining the ‘teaching casual’ staff.
Discussion continues and is getting closer to agreement. However agreement for a Teaching Specialist Profile with a 500 hours cap on contact hours cannot be reached. NTEU have offered to increase from 400 to 450. “Contact hours” remains a focal point of conversation.
Special Studies Program (SSP)
The majority of the policy detail has been removed from the Enterprise Agreement with only principle based statements now included. In particular, JCU management sought to include a statement to the effect that staff do not have an automatic right to an SSP where their program does not meet the criteria in the SSP Policy and that programs may be limited due to resourcing issues. The NTEU agreed with the proviso that should an application be rejected due to resource issues, the university would consider a new or resubmitted application within a set timeframe and in this regard 3 years was suggested. The only outstanding matter to be agreed between parties is the review process where an SSP is declined.
P&T - Hours of Work
The latest position from the joint Unions is that they may consider options such as a small increase to the span of hours, small increase to the hours worked in a day or a greater span of hours/days in a week for specific categories of staff i.e. marketing, JCI, IT&R and for staff involved in specific events such as graduations, orientations etc.
The next meeting will be held in Cairns on 29 and 30 May 2013.
As always your input is valued and you can forward feedback to Enterprise-Bargaining@jcu.edu.au.