Uni Wollongong staff reject management savings plans

Staff say no to temporary pay cuts

What they were asked: Management asked staff to specify preferred options in a survey on how to deal with COVID-19 deficits.

Two choices were for scaled pay-cuts over 12 or 18 months, with savings used to reduce job losses, to 150 or 200. The third option was the status quo, which management warned would lead to “substantial” job losses across the university, “possible double” those in the other two.
What they replied: A majority of staff voting decided to take that chance, with 62 per cent in favour of no change.

“The survey results come as some staff who indicated a preference for this option have since expressed concerns that they did not fully appreciate the consequences of their choice or had been persuaded by union campaigns suggesting a fourth option would evolve, which is not the case,” UoW states.

But the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union responds, “if management wants a united community in a time of crisis then they should sit with us and work out how we can meet the shortfall without major job losses.” Branch president Georgine Clarsen points to Western Sydney University, where management and the two unions hammered out a savings-plan, which they all recommend to staff.

What’s next: Uni Wollongong management is going to give the union another chance to back wage reductions.  The proposed full variation to the university enterprise agreement for the least unpopular option (10 per cent pay cut for 18 months) will be  sent to the management-union Joint Consultative Committee, “to immediately explore whether our local staff representatives will agree to support that option.”

Management does not have much choice than to bring the unions in – staff who aren’t members listen to them when university managements want to change working conditions. Last week the University of Melbourne lost a vote to cancel a pay-rise ,a move strongly opposed by the NTEU.