Smaller pay rises and existing arrangements in enterprise agreements

The MYEFO funding cuts mean peak pay has passed, says higher education consultant Andrew Dempster, who suggests that universities still to reach new enterprise agreements will not match last year’s salary increases. 2017 pay deals ranged from 2.4 per cent per annum at Swinburne U to 1.5 per cent at Curtin U, with an 1.9 per cent median for a staffer on $100 000, across the eleven universities who settled on terms.

“As CFOs process the real and potential impacts of the cuts and factor them into university budgets, it’s difficult to see wage outcomes achieved last year holding up throughout 2018,” he says.

Otherwise it looks like being business as usual, with managements not pushing for simplified employment conditions in agreements. While there was tough talk 12 months back, a range of universities did not push the National Tertiary Education Union to make it easier to discipline staff and to change working arrangements. “The takeout for universities bargaining this year is that the productivity gains are there to be made but they won’t come easily,” Mr Dempster predicts.

But this does not mean managements will leave the union unchallenged. Dempster expects to see more universities engaging direct with staff, by putting issues to workforce votes, “rather than relying on claims and assertions made at the bargaining table.”


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