A big deal at Western Sydney U

Union and management have agreed to create 150 new FTE jobs  that casual academic staff can convert to continuing employment

It’s part of a proposed new enterprise agreement, negotiated by the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union and WSU, which could set a standard for universities around the country.

Western Sydney U academic casuals (454 in March 2021) will have first right to apply for the full-time teaching and research positions, which will be created in three tranches by December 2024.

The proposal is in part funded by pay rises below the 5 per cent per annum the NTEU national leadership calls for, with university staff making a 0.3 per cent contribution.

Staff received a 2 per cent administrative pay rise in April and under the proposed agreement will receive a 2.6 per cent rise in October, followed by 3.35 per cent in October ’23, 2.9 per cent in October ‘24 and 2.6 per cent in March 2025.

Professional staff on low pay scales will receive a $500 to $1000 “uplift” this year, which will add to their base pay. This is said to translate to a 6.4 per cent rise for HEW Five staff this year.

The insecure position of long-term casuals is an issue at universities across the country. At WSU management and the NTEU have done something about it.

“This is a fantastic, historic achievement by our members. If this were replicated at every university we would see mass decasualisation, alongside mass conversion of casual labour into permanent jobs, right across the sector” NTEU NSW division secretary Damien Cahill said last night.