It looks like the University of Sydney and Central Queensland U have set the standard for the current round of enterprise bargaining. Certainly, deals being done suggest universities will follow their lead and pay around 2 per cent per annum pay rises without the simplified industrial conditions managements were talking up at the beginning of the year.
But it ain’t necessarily so, according to a close IR observer who argues the University of Sydney and CQU are outliers.
The last round of negotiations on pay and conditions at UniSyd was tough and it would be understandable if management did not want a sequel to that stoush. The books are not in bad shape and with a tradition of being a top payer management appears to have done a deal with the National Tertiary Education Union, lest campus activists dug in for more, the observer suggests. CQU management gets on well with the union and is paying more as a strategy to attract staff.
None of this necessarily applies at other universities, which are offering less per annum, Edith Cowan U around 1.36%, University of Adelaide about 1.6% and Curtin 1.2%. They have all extracted more flexible industrial conditions, although nothing that the union was going to dig in to defend.
On balance, it seems there are two type of management deal makers in this round. There are the pragmatists who use pay as the price of some productivity changes and optimists who go with the flow on the assumption that federal government indexation rises will pay for the giveaways and more of the same in managing staff.