Driving hard bargaining at Uni Newcastle

Last week VC Alex Zelinsky asked the Fair Work Commission to arbitrate less stalled than fallen into a black hole enterprise bargaining – cue outrage from the National Tertiary Education Union (CMM May 25, 26 and 29)

On Friday the union demanded the VC withdraw his application for the commission to arbitrate and keep talking, given “the parties were close to agreement.”

But FWC sorted a deal at Uni Newcastle after bitter bargaining in 2018 (CMM October 31 ’18) and it appears that with the other campus union, the CPSU having agreed to a management offer (CMM May 22), management decided it had nothing to lose.

So off to the FWC parties went yesterday, where Deputy President Saunders decided to “facilitate an intense week of bargaining” next week at the university’s Newcastle CBD campus.

Outstanding issues appear to include casual staff terms (which may relate to the university pulling its proposal of increased super for them when it offered an increased all-staff payrise.)

The NTEU also appears to have concerns with dispute resolution and organisation change in the proposed agreement.

What is not mentioned is pay – which may mean the university’s most recent 13 per cent over the agreement offer  (CMM May 1) is no longer in dispute. Or not.