Big changes coming for uni-staff negotiations

The Senate committee inquiring into the government’s IR bill reported yesterday – there’s not much in it for uni managements

The Australian Higher Education Industrial Association, which represents most universities, is unhappy with the possibility of multiple universities being included in one enterprise agreement, the possibility of unions stopping management pay offers being put to staff and a 24 month limit on fixed term contacts (CMM November 18)

Just about the only joy for managements in the committee report is the recommendation that the bill be amended, so that, “no party can unreasonably withhold agreement for a proposed enterprise agreement being put to a vote,” with the Fair Work Commission having power to resolve disputes.

However cross-bencher David Pocock did acknowledge one university concern, “while promoting security of employment is a worthy objective, this part of the bill may have a number of adverse unintended consequences on various sectors including in professional sports and university research.”  The government already proposes a 12-month delay on introducing the cap.

As for multi-employer bargaining, which really worries the Regional Universities Network (CMM November 14) it seems set to stay as is in the bill