Southern Cross U splits unions on bargaining offer

The CPSU settles on terms for a new enterprise agreement

The Community and Public Sector Union and management have agreed on improved conditions and four pay rises across January 23- ‘25, plus salary scale uplifts and a signing bonus which management says combine to a compound pay increase of 9 per cent to 10.5 per cent.

“We believe it is a fair increase, given the university is obliged to balance its own challenging financial situation while recognising the increased cost of living in the regions that we live and work,” the CPSU tells members, among the university’s professional staff.

However the National Tertiary Education Union, with members across the university workforce, responds the pay rise is “inferior” to that agreed by the union at Western Sydney Union and removes/reduces a range of working conditions. Plus, the academic workload model stays as is – SCU switched to block teaching in 2021, which the union says expands workloads beyond “allotted hours” (CMM September 2).

The union urges “all SCU staff to reject the deal and force SCU managers back to the negotiating table to work on an agreement that is fair for everyone.”

The NTEU and CPSU are not always in accord at Southern Cross U. During Covid they split over a management savings plan (CMM July 8 2020).

If management decides CPSU support means it has the numbers, staff will likely soon get their chance to yea or nay the proposal in a Fair Work Commission vote.

Which it might well win. Union opposed agreement offers rarely get up – but it does happen, notably when the CPSU and NTEU are divided. Back in 2013 an enterprise agreement offer supported by the former and opposed by the latter at Charles Sturt U was approved by a vote of all staff (CMM September 22 2013).