University staff vote to vary Enterprise Agreement to save jobs

Barr Smith Library

University of Adelaide staff have voted in support of a variation to their Enterprise Agreement to save 200 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs.

A total of 2988 staff cast a vote in this week’s ballot with 58.8% voting in favour of the proposed variation. The proposed Enterprise Agreement Variation (EAV) will now go to the Fair Work Commission for review.

The Enterprise Agreement Variation (EAV) covers a package of temporary measures including:

  • removing annual leave loading
  • reducing pay by 3.5% (excluding superannuation and the first $30,000 of salary)
  • postponing a scheduled pay increase of 1.5%
  • adoption of a general “purchased leave” arrangement
  • directions to take leave.

The measures were negotiated with the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) under the COVID-19 Jobs Protection Framework, endorsed by the NTEU National Executive and supported by a ballot of the members of the local NTEU branch.

The EAV aims to help meet the financial challenge of a projected total reduction in revenue for the University in 2020 and 2021 of $225 million.

A comprehensive range of savings measures already in place left a projected budget shortfall of $60 million for 2021, requiring further savings which equated to 400 FTE positions. The EAV package of measures will save about half of those FTE positions.

University Interim Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Brooks, in an email to staff announcing the ballot result, said:

“Thank you all for taking the time to consider this matter.

“The proposed Enterprise Agreement Variation (EAV) will now go to the Fair Work Commission for review, and we anticipate a response within a few weeks of the date of lodgement. If approved, the University would then be in a position to implement the EAV. The purchased leave and pay reduction measures would likely start in late September.

“I know for many of you this decision has been a difficult one. I will continue to communicate often and openly on our evolving financial position and the implementation of the jobs protection framework.

“Regardless of how you chose to vote, I thank you for your collegiality and for your support. I will update you when we have a decision from the Fair Work Commission.”

Tagged in EAV, NTEU, ballot, COVID-19