La Trobe and union agree on good terms

Relations between La Trobe University management and union used to resemble the 30 Years War, only nastier – but now comes news that the two side have quietly come up with a new enterprise agreement of a kind we may not see again, at least while the government’s funding cuts remain.

This (with UoQ to come) is probably the last of the pre-MYEFO deals in the current enterprise bargaining round and as such it is relatively generous. Very generous in terms of one major management concession.

As to money, the university is using the popular mix of cash and per centage pay rises, which help low income workers most. There will be a $1500 payrise for all staff on the agreement’s adoption, followed by a 1.5 per cent increase in December, $1800 in July ’19, 1.6 per cent in July ’20 and again in July ’21.

The union will also be pleased with the workload model, notably management agreeing not to alter them without consulting staff and the union.  And both sides will be able to live with the new discipline review system, under which appeals go to an independent reviewer who will look at process and whether the evidence supports a misconduct finding (Deakin U set a precedent for this sort of agreement.).

But the bit that union officers will really like is the absence of performance pay. Originally LT U offered “recognition payments” of 0.1 per cent for all staff in ’18,’19 and ’20 if the university lifted1 per cent in each year’s Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching student satisfaction performance (CMM December 1 2017). NTEU officials hate performance pay, suggesting that it is unfair to staff who have no contact with students and they tell staff that the pay rises in the new agreement are “not contingent on performance targets.”


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