UQ has issued these communications about the current enterprise bargaining negotiations. This list is not exhaustive.

20 September 2017 - Email from Provost

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to provide you with a further update on enterprise bargaining at UQ.

Bargaining has been continuing on a weekly basis and we continue to make steady progress. Our Agreement is a long and complex document so it has taken some time to work through all the detail in a careful way.

It remains one of our objectives to simplify the Agreement where possible and sensible.

Job security has been a focus of our recent discussions. It is important to both the University and our bargaining representatives to get this right.

Fixed term contracts and conversion

While the University has a preference for continuing employment, fixed-term appointments are sometimes necessary to allow for work to be done on a specified task or for a specified period.

Currently our Agreement restricts when staff may be engaged on fixed term contracts. This has meant that casual employment is often used more than we would like. To provide for greater job security for some staff currently employed under casual arrangements, the University is seeking less prescription around the use of fixed term contracts for professional staff.

Allied to this is a proposal for fixed term conversion; a new right for eligible staff to apply for conversion to continuing employment where they have commenced employment on a fixed term basis and have subsequently had their contracts renewed.

Discussions are continuing in relation to the precise terms of these new provisions; however I am confident that with good will from bargaining representatives we will be able to achieve a positive outcome that best suits the needs of staff and the University.

For academic staff, the current restrictions around the use of fixed term appointments will remain.

We welcome your input and feedback

We welcome feedback, which will be used by the bargaining team to refine our approach as discussions continue. If you have any suggestions for improvement based on your personal experience of how the current Agreement has worked for you, please let us know.

There are two ways you can get in touch with us and learn more:

  1. Make comments, ask questions and provide feedback to the Enterprise Bargaining Team via EBFeedback@uq.edu.au
  2. Visit the University's enterprise bargaining webpage for further information and updates at http://www.hr.uq.edu.au/eb

To those who have already contributed feedback, thank you. I will of course continue to keep you updated as discussions continue.

Yours sincerely,

Aidan

Professor Aidan Byrne BSc MSc Auck. PhD ANU

Provost and Senior Vice-President

10 August 2017 - Bargaining update

Since the last update, we’ve been continuing to work through the detail of our Agreement in a methodical way.

You can view the draft clauses tabled by the University to date. These draft clauses remain subject to ongoing negotiations and may change as the University receives feedback and considers alternative proposals and/or claims made by bargaining representatives.

Consultation on Major Change

Our current Agreement requires us to undertake quite complex and involved processes. The University is proposing to make organisational change simpler and easier for staff to navigate.

In particular, we are aiming to improve the way in which we handle proposals for major change so that staff are provided with all the information they need in an initial single Proposal document, rather than receiving multiple communications over an extended period of time.

Our experience at UQ is that change is more likely to be successful when staff feedback is genuinely considered and used to shape final outcomes. It is hoped that the new process will provide staff with clear opportunities to provide input into change processes to facilitate better outcomes for staff as well as the University.

The University’s proposal is also aimed at allowing change to be managed in a way that does not expose staff to protracted periods of uncertainty, as sometimes occurs under the processes required under the current Agreement.

Redundancy Entitlements: Academic Staff

The University is proposing to clarify the entitlements of academic staff in circumstances of redundancy.

It is proposed that in circumstances of redundancy, academic staff will receive a payment of 26 weeks’ salary plus two weeks’ salary for each year of continuous service, capped at a maximum of 64 weeks. This payment will be in addition to:

  • the required notice period (as per the Agreement or as specified in the staff member’s contract of employment) or payment in lieu; and
  • pro rata long service leave entitlements for staff with five (5) years or more service.

Misconduct and Serious Misconduct

The University is proposing to streamline and simplify procedures for misconduct and serious misconduct in the new Agreement.

While these provisions are rarely used, it is important that the University be able to deal with alleged instances of misconduct or serious misconduct in a way that both protects the rights of the staff member, particularly with respect to due process and a fair hearing of the allegations, the staff member’s response and any extenuating circumstances; and allows the University to resolve issues of misconduct and serious misconduct in a timely and efficient way.

How you can be involved

We welcome your input and feedback. There are two ways you can get in touch with us and learn more:

  • Make comments, ask questions and provide feedback to the Enterprise Agreement team via EBFeedback@uq.edu.au
  • Visit the University’s enterprise bargaining webpage for further information and updates at hr.uq.edu.au/eb

We encourage anyone with an interest in bargaining to provide feedback on the University’s proposals and draft clauses.

Your feedback will be used to shape our approach to concluding an Agreement that meets the needs of our staff as well as positioning the University for continued success.

The UQ Bargaining Team

Professor Aidan Byrne, Bill Kernahan, Anthony Lennon and Ann-Maree Waugh

30 May 2017 - Enterprise Bargaining Update

Following a series of preliminary meetings, we’re now at the stage of discussing the detail of specific matters in the Enterprise Agreement. Recent meetings have focused significantly on leave and the University’s proposed approach to simplifying our Agreement. View the draft leav e clauses tabled by the University to date, which remain subject to ongoing negotiations.

Parental leave

The University recognises that many staff are responsible for caring for a child after birth or adoption. Currently, birth mothers and adoptive parents who are primary caregivers can access 26 weeks paid leave. The University is proposing to also offer a new type of paid parental leave, called Primary Caregiver Leave, which would provide a primary caregiver – who is not the birth mother – with 14 weeks paid leave.

Personal leave

The University is proposing to restore parity between academic and professional staff for entitlement to personal leave. In the new agreement, we are proposing that all continuing and fixed-term staff have access to the community standard of 10 days personal leave, which can be a combination of sick leave and carer’s leave as required, and will continue to accumulate from year to year if not used.

Our current Enterprise Agreement provides an entitlement for academic staff to access up to an additional 35 days of personal leave each year. This entitlement is not available to professional staff and considerably exceeds community standards. Provision will remain for staff to access accumulated personal leave and the University also facilitates paid special leave in exceptional circumstances. For these reasons, we do not expect this change to have a major impact; however, it will bring our University into line with what our community would expect.

Staff will continue to have access to the additional five days non-accumulative carer’s leave.

Domestic and family violence leave

As a responsible employer, the University recognises that staff affected by domestic and family violence will require support in a range of ways, including but not limited to the provision of paid leave.

UQ’s current guidelines: Domestic Violence and the Workplace: Support Options Available for Staff [5.55.06] presents support options, and bargaining representatives have had productive discussions with the University about further steps we can take to support those affected by domestic violence.

The University is therefore proposing to include a new clause in our Agreement dealing specifically with domestic violence and confirming employees’ entitlement to paid special leave in these circumstances.

Cashing out annual leave and long service leave

The University is proposing to offer staff much greater flexibility by allowing them the option to cash out untaken annual leave and long service leave. We’re pleased to be proposing this additional benefit to staff in response to previous staff requests for the University to allow this.

This new entitlement will include some sensible and reasonable conditions. For example, in accordance with the requirements of the Fair Work Act 2009, staff will need to have a balance of at least four weeks leave following any cash out of annual leave, so that staff maintain the capacity to take regular breaks from work at any given time.

Simplifying our Agreement

The Enterprise Agreement underpins the working conditions of all staff, so it should be a document that can be readily and easily understood by everyone. Unfortunately, many of the provisions of the current agreement are either ambiguous or highly complex, so we’re seeking changes to our Agreement that make it far easier to understand and work with.

For example, current processes relating to organisational change, misconduct, unsatisfactory performance and medical conditions affecting performance are often difficult for the staff involved. The University would like to address the complexity of such processes so they are easily understood and can be completed in a timely manner, while remaining fair to the parties concerned.

How you can be involved

We welcome your input and feedback. There are two ways you can get in touch with us and learn more:

  • Make comments, ask questions and provide feedback to the Enterprise Agreement team via EBFeedback@uq.edu.au
  • Visit the University's enterprise bargaining webpage for further information and updates at hr.uq.edu.au/eb

The UQ Bargaining Team

Professor Alan Rix, Professor Aidan Byrne, Jane Banney, Anthony Lennon, Ann-Maree Waugh

27 April 2017 - Email from Vice-Chancellor and President

Dear colleagues,

I'm pleased to advise you that negotiations for a new Enterprise Agreement for UQ staff recently commenced.

I would like to take this opportunity to share with you the University's broad priorities for our new Agreement. These priorities reflect issues that have been raised about the operation of the current Agreement and also our consideration of the current and future context for the university sector.

UQ is an outstanding university ranking well within the top 100 universities worldwide with a 50,000-plus strong student community and more than 7,000 academic and professional staff. We pride ourselves on our significant research capability and outcomes and on delivering a student experience of the highest quality. We are successful because of the hard work and ongoing pursuit of excellence by our staff.

While the Enterprise Agreement in itself is not the key driver of our collective and individual success, it provides arrangements which underpin the staff experience at UQ, forming an important component of the structural factors we rely upon to be successful.

The new Agreement will provide the conditions of employment for eligible academic and professional staff and for Language Teachers in the Institute of Continuing and TESOL Education.

Securing our continued success

In the simplest of terms, UQ is seeking an Enterprise Agreement which secures our continued success. We wish to use continued and improved performance to secure the employment of our staff to the greatest extent possible. Aligned with that ambition, we wish to recognise good performance and allow for the timely and fair management of under-performance. We are seeking to support a workplace in which staff can develop and prosper and be treated fairly and with respect whilst always seeking to serve our students and other external stakeholders as best as we possibly can.

Our Agreement should describe benefits in a way that is easily understood by all staff who look to the Agreement for clear information and guidance as opposed to being more confused after reading it.

We are also seeking to remove detailed prescription and repetition from the Agreement and provisions which slow down our academic and operational progress. Our approach will be sensible and reasonable.

An important part of these negotiations is the consideration of salary increases and changes to conditions of employment which affect the staff experience at UQ.

The University's salary offer will have regard to current economic conditions, community expectations and crucially the University's financial position, including the impact of the May Federal budget, to provide salaries for the next few years that are fair, sustainable and aligned with community standards.

Please see the University's Objectives (PDF, 57KB) for more detail.

Our Enterprise Agreement team

In discussions over the new Agreement, I'm pleased to advise that the University will be represented by two Senior Executive members, namely our Provost (Professor Aidan Byrne), and our Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Professor Alan Rix). Our Enterprise Agreement team also comprises our Director, Human Resources (Jane Banney), Associate Director, Workplace Relations (Anthony Lennon), and Senior HR Employee Relations Consultant (Anne-Maree Waugh). To ensure that the university's position is informed by appropriate additional expertise, other senior staff will, as required, participate in the discussions from time to time.

Bargaining meetings are scheduled weekly. Unions who are party to the negotiations are the National Tertiary Education Union, Together, the Australian Services Union and United Voice. Four staff members have also nominated to participate in the negotiations as individual bargaining representatives and we welcome their participation.

Professor Byrne will be in touch with you with further details, including some of the specific changes that we wish to make to employment conditions.

How you can stay informed and be involved

Our Enterprise Agreement team will be providing you with regular progress updates.

I also encourage you to:

  • make comments, ask questions and provide feedback to the Enterprise agreement team via EBFeedback@uq.edu.au
  • visit the University's enterprise bargaining webpage for further information and updates at www.hr.uq.edu.au/eb

Regards

Peter

Professor Peter Høj
Vice-Chancellor and President

9 March 17 - Email from HR Director

Dear colleagues

As you may be aware, the current University of Queensland Enterprise Agreement covering eligible academic, professional and TESOL language teaching staff will expire on 31 March 2017. The terms of the Agreement continue until replaced and the University will soon commence negotiations for a new Enterprise Agreement.

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) requires all employers who are engaging in enterprise bargaining with their staff to inform them of their right to appoint a bargaining representative during the course of enterprise bargaining. The Notice of Employee Representational Rights (PDF, 137KB) for staff of The University of Queensland is attached to this email. A hard copy of the Notice will also be available from your Faculty or Institute Human Resources team.

You can appoint a bargaining representative by notifying the person in writing that you appoint that person as your bargaining representative. You can also appoint yourself as a bargaining representative. In either case you must give a copy of the appointment to the University. For further information please see the attached notice (PDF, 137KB).

If you supervise staff who do not have daily access to a computer please print a copy of the attached notice (PDF, 137KB) and provide it to them this week. When providing the notice, please ensure it is not stapled to any other correspondence.

Further information on enterprise bargaining will be provided to you over coming weeks and regular updates will be provided throughout the bargaining process.

If you have any questions about or interest in being a bargaining representative please contact Ann-Maree Waugh, Senior HR Employee Relations Consultant (a.waugh@uq.edu.au).

Regards

Professor Alan Rix
Pro-Vice Chancellor

Ms Jane Banney
Director, Human Resources