Uni Queensland wants a 12th month halt on wage talks

Skirmishing has started over the new enterprise agreement due soon – management suggests a pause

This would extend the existing agreement until next June, making it four years, which industrial law allows “and” the university tells staff, “is far more common practice.”

To recommend the idea to staff, and union negotiators, the university proposes a 2 per cent pay rise in January. Another year, would “provide staff with greater stability at a time of uncertainty,” management suggests.

But industrial relations observers point out it would also allow the university time to work-out what the post (hopefully) pandemic world will look like and how much Uni Queensland could pay people, and how many of them, for the next four years.

And they wonder what staff could get in return for agreeing (the university community would have to vote for the extra year), on top of a payrise that was likely to happen anyway. The unions, for example, could ask for an undertaking on job security as was adopted at QUT last year as part of a pandemic savings package (CMM July 27 2020).

What would be interesting, high stakes, but interesting, would be if either or both unions (the National Tertiary Education Union and Together Queensland) rejected an extension and the university still put it to a staff vote. Whichever side lost would not be in a great position whenever bargaining started.