“We have retained all the benefits of the existing agreement and provided additional benefits that ensure that employees continue to receive top-level wages, benefits and working conditions,” he said. “It is important that, while there have been disagreements between the parties, the agreement is the result of constructive negotiations and open communication over the past six months to ensure that it takes into account the core concerns and interests of the university and staff.” The dispute appears to have been resolved following a decisive decision by the Fair Work Commission to terminate a business contract at Murdoch University in Western Australia. University of Sydney staff unions have agreed on pay and conditions after six months of lengthy negotiations with university management. And the time to redeploy non-university staff, who have been laid off under the new agreement, would be reduced from 12 weeks to nine months until the end of December 2019. The statement said the university had committed to establishing a working group of union representation to address issues related to the retraining of casual workers to safer forms of employment. The statement signed by two union representatives and Dr. Spence called the agreement in principle “a great step forward for us as a university community.” Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham has called on university management to follow Murdoch`s lead in modernising working practices and saving money, while his government is cutting education budgets by 4.9% in 2018 and 2019. This month, Dr. Spence said meetings with the union were deadlocked before asking employees for an informal vote on the enterprise agreement, including the 2.1 percent wage offer that the union has so far refused. The conditions of employment at the UTS are determined by various laws, collective agreements, common law and university police, practice and statutes.
The university issued a statement stating that the NTEU, the public sector union and Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence had signed a new three-year enterprise agreement. The “agreement in principle” included an annual salary increase of 2.1 percent from July 1 of next year and a one-time payment of $500 for all temporary employees if the agreement is ratified by the Fair Work Commission. The compromise follows a series of strikes by the National Tertiary Education Union, which recently put the campus on leave during the open house. The university applies up to 120 full-time equivalents depending on education. Industrial conditions for the employment of UTS employees are prescribed in: Deal: University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence.Credit:Louise Kennerley Anna Patty is Senior Writer for The Sydney Morning Herald with a focus on higher education. He is a former labour editor, education publisher, state journalist and health reporter.