The 2018 enterprise agreements replace the 2014 agreements. “I really think we were able to reach an agreement with the CPSU. Unfortunately, we have not reached an agreement with the NTEU. This is a difficult time for our employees, as is the case for many in our community. Our goal was to delay wage increases and save about $12 million to $15 million, which would represent about 120 additional jobs that could be protected, depending on the mix of university, teacher and professional staff. We now need to make additional savings of $12 million to $15 million through measures under our existing enterprise agreements,” said the Vice-Chancellor. The current enterprise agreements were approved by the Fair Work Commission in March 2019. Our enterprise agreements establish advisory committees in which elected staff representatives work with leaders on specific issues. After negotiations on the staffing agreement failed in the months that followed, Vice-Chancellor Alex Zelinsky said savings of $35 million were needed by December. Newcastle University Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky told staff today that the university has failed to reach an agreement with unions on wage measures to deal with the financial impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on the institution.
The university also agreed on wage measures that provided for the postponement of two planned wage increases of 2% and annual wage increases until December 2021. “Many of them are immoral… very expensive degrees for almost no cost [at university]. The university confirmed that five faculties were grouped into three, that staff were to take an additional 10 days off in 2021, and that a pre-retirement plan would be proposed for workers over the age of 55. “We are firmly committed to making savings decisions in line with our strategic priorities and ensuring that our students continue to benefit from excellent training and experience and that our regions benefit from our presence,” said Professor Zelinsky. “Every school has been told, `You can spend a maximum of X dollars per student` – regardless of the type of student – and it has all propelled everything. I am disappointed that the unions did not support these measures. We have seriously tried to find common ground in our negotiations,” said Professor Zelinsky. Another academic said he didn`t think the so-called course optimization process would do a little better.
“For those who stay, there will be far less choice for students, which they do,” he said. He said he wanted to achieve a balanced budget by 2021, which would mean job cuts and a reduction in the number of schools, diplomas and subjects.