The workforce has backed management’s COVID-19 savings plan
But it was tight. With 4 217 staff (61 per cent) turning out just 2126 (50.46 per cent) voted yes.
The proposed enterprise agreement variation now goes to Fair Work Australia for approval. This means the 2 per cent EA pay-rise scheduled for July is deferred for 12 months. The July ’21 rise will occur July ’22.
Yesterday Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt said the pay freeze will save $6.75 million this year and $13.5 million over 12 months, “and we will transparently demonstrate how every dollar will be used to protect jobs.” However, just how many jobs will be protected is not stated.
Professor Schmidt, who campaigned for the proposal, was gracious in victory. “It was a very close outcome, but that speaks to the valid arguments on both sides. I committed to accepting the verdict of the staff who chose to vote and I will do that, as I would have done had the result gone the other way.”
Which it nearly did. The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union opposed the proposal and president Matthew King says the result is not the end of the issue. “This is a very narrow defeat, but it is also far from a decisive mandate for proceeding with this proposal. The next steps are not automatic. ANU will now have to make a conscious decision, after reflecting on the narrow margin of the vote, to proceed to the Fair Work Commission to implement these changes.”
And there’s the next bargaining round to look forward to; “we will also be preparing to ensure that the generosity of ANU staff during this crisis is reciprocated during enterprise bargaining,” adds Cathy Day, the union’s ACT secretary.