WSU management and union have a plan to save jobs

The university branch of the National Tertiary Education Union and management are close to a cost-saving proposal which would help meet this year’s COVID-19 created budget shortfall

A draft is believed to include staff purchasing five days leave from the university, which they will be able to use over the next five years. The purchase would be deducted from fortnightly pay over the rest of this year. Staff earning under $65 000 a year would be exempt.

In return, the university would commit to no staff stand-downs or redundancies and to maintain the original 2020 budget for paying casual staff.

With $60m in non-staff savings already made by management this proposal could mean the university meets the $75m shortfall expected this year.

While WSU has not commented on the national accord proposed by the NTEU’s national leadership and four vice chancellors, to trade employment conditions for job security, this local agreement appears in-line with it. Nor has Vice Chancellor Barney Glover joined the chorus of criticism from VCs opposing the national accord’s proposal for union representative over-sight of savings proposals at individual universities.

The possibility of a WSU-specific arrangement occurs while the future of the national accord is unknown. The NTEU’s national membership is expected to vote on the proposal Friday, however vice chancellors, including those of Australian Catholic U, CQU, Griffith U, UNSW, Uni Melbourne, RMIT and Flinders U have ruled out adopting the agreement if it passes.

A local agreement designed to suit WSU specific-circumstances would be a big-win for both Professor Glover and university staff, giving members of the campus community a level of security in the event of a national approach not succeeding.

If there is a proposal, it would go first to union members and if approved by them to a vote of all WSU staff to vary the enterprise agreement.