Always out of office at Southern Cross U

A union proposal calls for people to do their jobs wherever they want

Academics at Southern Cross U would have to be on campus only for work that “cannot be performed anywhere else” if management agrees to an enterprise bargaining claim by the National Tertiary Education Union. And professional staff would have “enhanced rights” to do the same.

‘Twas ever thus for many academics over-time, but it occasionally caused conniptions among managers. Back in 2018 La Trobe U management told academics they were “expected to be on campus at all time, unless otherwise arranged” and those arrangements had to be in writing. Cue outrage and management backed down (CMM July 6 2018).

It is hard to see anybody arguing that in plague times, given campuses have been deserted off and on for a year. And when staff have a taste for working more from home. Last year 68 per cent of UNSW staff reported they wanted to spend two or three days a week on campus, which a management planning paper stated should be accommodated (CMM July 22 2020).

The challenge for negotiators at SCU, and maybe at a bunch of other universities, will be deciding what “cannot be performed anywhere else” covers.