ANU staff have voted in favour of the new 2017-2020 Enterprise Agreement, ending the seven month bargaining process between the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and ANU. Superannuation will increase for fixed term but not casual staff, and the union has blocked proposed changes to library work hours and Christmas leave while conceding increased working hours for IT and Hospitality.
The enterprise agreement establishes the pay and working conditions of ANU staff. It was negotiated between the university and the NTEU, representing ANU employees. All staff employed at the ANU will be subject to this agreement, with the exclusion of senior management positions, including the Vice-Chancellor and College Deans, and those employed in the Live Performance industry.
The bargaining process began formally in February this year, and ended seven months later, on 27 September 2017, where an in-principle agreement was reached. 98.3% of NTEU members endorsed the agreement in a vote held on the 12 October, which was then passed on to all ANU staff in an electronic ballot held from 20 – 26 October, with 88% of ANU staff voting in favour. The enterprise agreement will now be sent to the Fair Work Commission for approval and will go into effect seven days after.
The NTEU has attributed the lack of change in library working hours and the secured existence of Christmas leave to their campaigns throughout the year. ACT Division Organiser Lachlan Clohesy attributes these successes to the NTEU’s activities, telling Observer, “it is clear that our campaigning and activism made a significant contribution”.
However, the NTEU did not secure greater superannuation for casual staff or larger pay raises, which were two major priorities in their bargaining. Annual pay raises have been lowered from 3% to 2%, with the exception of a flat rate increase of $1,800 in 2017 and 2019 to each ANU employee, which ranged from approximately 1.1% to 3.6% of their salary. Furthermore, despite no change in library working hours, the working hours of other staff have been increased, with Information Technology going up by one hour, and Hospitality by half an hour. The university justified these changes to be “support[ing] extended teaching hours”, and to align with the “operational requirements of the University”.
Despite these changes, the NTEU is satisfied with the new Enterprise Agreement, according to Clohesy and ACT NTEU Division Secretary Rachael Bahl. Clohesy described the agreement as “a good deal for members in the current environment”, while Bahl told Observer that the NTEU had “secured a number of improvements” on an “already… good agreement”. She commended the University’s attitude in the year long bargaining process, saying, “ANU management should be congratulated on their collegiate approach to enterprise bargaining.”