James Cook U staff to vote on savings plan next week

JCU management does not muck around

Mr Rogers promised: On Tuesday HR director Geoff Rogers told staff savings talks with unions had failed and the university would advise staff on what would happen next, “shortly.” (CMM yesterday)

The VC delivered: It was a short shortly. Yesterday Vice Chancellor Sandra Harding announced a staff vote on an enterprise agreement variation for Thursday-Friday next week.

“As we are unable to achieve agreement with the unions about how to save jobs, it’s important you have an opportunity to provide your view on the EAV in a vote,” Professor Harding said.

The core of the proposal is deferring the pay rise due this month to December 2021, more compulsory leave at Christmas and a voluntary leave purchase.

The vice chancellor adds “the issue around leave loading, which I know was problematic for many” is “gone” (Mr Rogers did not mention it, Tuesday) and that the university has “recommitted” to the June 2021 enterprise agreement pay rise.

“While there are no quick fixes or easy options, I believe the enterprise agreement variation reflects a considered and pragmatic step towards saving jobs, managing our budget deficit, and ensuring JCU comes out of a global health emergency in the best shape possible. We can do this if we set our minds to it. I am sure of it.”

Professor Harding makes no mention of how many saved jobs voting for the agreement will be a step towards.  But late yesterday Mr Rogers sent staff another message assuring them there would be no forced redundancies under the EAV, (ex restructures already underway).

To which people respond: The National Tertiary Education Union tells members this, “is a grab for your hard won pay and conditions.” The NTEU calls for a shorter pay-rise deferral, to mid ’21 with any extension by agreement.

Learned readers also ask why management does not set a specific date before which there will be no forced redundancies.