Say hi to Santa Scott Bowman: CQU sets standard generosity in new staff deal

Pleasantries prevail at CQU where management and union have done a deal on a new enterprise agreement. It’s not hard to see why the comrades are happy

what’s agreed: CQU and the National Tertiary Education Union have reached a heads of agreement for a new five year deal on wages and conditions deal. Key terms include a cumulative 10.5 per cent pay rise, setting a new standard in the current round of negotiations across the country. Management has also agreed to extend superannuation for fixed term staff from the legislated 9.5 per cent to the 17 per cent continuing university employees receive.

There are also a range of benefits bringing staff in the dual sector university’s TAFE division into line with higher education in one agreement.

National Tertiary Education Union Queensland state secretary Michael McNally endorses the deal, telling members “the bargaining team has done a great job” and that the pay rise demonstrates CQU management understands, “it is staff that will pull them through the challenges of possible federal budget cuts.”

The university agrees, suggesting “these are generous provisions at a time when most industries are not providing salary increases and if they are, these are minimal. Just about the only concessions to management are changes to working hours specified for specific tasks and ending committee oversight of misconduct/serious misconduct matters, except in cases of alleged academic and research misconduct.

what it means: While amity applies at CQU this deal will create conniptions at the Australian Higher Education Industrial Association, which urges universities to push for simplified agreements that reduce the current complex codification of staff work protections. Education Minister Simon Birmingham, will also note the university’s line about the deal’s generosity and probably quote it to Senate crossbenchers to support his case that universities are dripping with doubloons and can afford his proposed cuts.

Bowman delivers: When Scott Bowman became VC in 20009 CQU was in strife, with an unsustainable dependence on international students and staff structures it could not afford. Most in the CQU community recognised things had to change. And so he cut – it was tough stuff but Bowman frankly fronted staff and endured their anguish. And now he is handing back the profits of pain past.