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NTEU News: Workloads, classifications, Contracts, TAFE, and more

Posted 15 August 2011 by Josh Cullinan (Swinburne University of Technology)

We thought it was timely to update all members on the significant campaigns underway at Swinburne. Many new members will be receiving this bulletin for the first time and we welcome you to the NTEU. Please read below for information about the various campaigns and find out how you can get involved in your union!
Academic Workloads Campaign
Many academic members will be aware NTEU has been collecting petitions calling for better and fairer workload models across the University. With FBE, FHEL and FLSS now approaching or exceeding our 80% target of academic staff signing the petition, we will be holding report back meetings and planning meetings as we establish reference groups for the next stage in the campaign. We are also now calling for all members who have not yet signed the petition to download the petition and get your colleagues to sign. This is particularly the case in FICT, FoD and FEIS where we will also hold meetings of staff to explain our campaign. NTEU is able to help with the petition and any members wanting assistance should contact Wayne Cupido on 0438 333 665 or [email protected].
Download Petition Here
NTEU has also had a significant win in relation to the negotiations for a new Academic Workload Framework for the University. Senior management has conceded this framework will be negotiated with the NTEU and we expect those negotiations to commence in the next week. This means the original proposal for a consultative framework with senior management making all final determinations has been withdrawn. We will also be assisting members negotiate the Faculty Workload Models over the coming months. These issues will be discussed in the meetings to be conducted in each Faculty and we will communicate separately to members about the time and location of meetings.
General Staff Classification Campaign
As members are aware NTEU has been running a significant classification campaign targeted at getting members properly classified (and properly paid!) Almost 50 members have signed pledges to participate in this exciting campaign. This week NTEU conducted a training session with campaign leaders who will now work with those staff who have signed pledges to prepare accurate position statements. All members who have signed a pledge will be contacted next week to attend a meeting where we will explain this next stage. In the meantime, if you have signed a pledge please collate all information you have about your position, including a copy of your position description and any notes you have about addition or different duties you have been performing in recent years.
If you have not signed a pledge time is running out so download one here and return it as soon as possible to NTEU at [email protected] or internal mail H35.
Contracts Campaign – Are you employed on a Fixed Term Contract? Should you be Ongoing?
Late last year NTEU ran a campaign on making sure staff who were employed on contracts improperly were converted to ongoing employment. Since then, many staff have been converted to ongoing employment. We don’t have accurate numbers on this as some senior managers converted staff quietly to avoid litigation, but we do know that dozens of staff are now employed on ongoing contracts because of this campaign.
Due to this success and due to the TAFE dispute, a number of members have approached NTEU about flaws in their contracts. NTEU is now preparing a group lodgment of a large number of cases of inappropriate contract use and we expect a number of staff will be converted to ongoing employment. If you have concerns about your contract, and wonder whether you should be ongoing, please contact Josh Cullinan on 0416 241 763 or [email protected] as soon as possible. Josh will need a copy of your contract by close of business Wednesday 17th August in order for you to participate in this group lodgment.
The overlap of this campaign with the TAFE dispute means that if you know of an agency staff member who is employed in the TAFE area they should contact Josh as soon as possible in order to maximize their opportunities in the TAFE area.
NTEU Growth Team
Some members have now met several new members of our NTEU Growth Team at Swinburne University. NTEU is trialing a dedicated Growth Team in an effort to improve our recruitment across Victoria. While membership growth has been very high at Swinburne (over 25% growth in the last 18 months) we also want to continue to grow strongly.

Members should be aware that the Growth Team are focused on recruitment and all industrial, campaign or organising questions should be directed to Ann, Josh or Wayne at the Branch.

Members who have colleagues interested in joining NTEU should also contact the Branch directly as the Growth Team will focus on other areas.
TAFE Dispute
Last week NTEU won a significant outcome in the TAFE dispute with management agreeing to a resolution of our dispute. NTEU did not withdraw our dispute as some management representatives reported – far from it. The resolution of the dispute includes:

  • a limited pilot of the centralization project at Wantirna & Croydon will commence. The University has agreed that the staffing of the pilot of the student central at Croydon and Wantirna will be through secondments. This means all those voluntarily seconded into the roles will be able to revert to their substantive positions at the conclusion of the pilot. Where not enough staff apply for secondments from Wantirna & Croydon, this will widen to all TAFE General Staff, and then all University General Staff.
  • NTEU & Swinburne University will enter a 7 week consultation process to discuss the standardization project. This will include 4 dedicated meetings between NTEU and University management.
  • Swinburne University will consider all feedback provided at least until 14th October and will not decide on implementation until after that time.
  • Swinburne University will not implement any change prior to 30th November.
  • Swinburne University has accepted that this timeframe ensures sufficient time to address matters that may arise through the process, including concerns related to tenure and classification. This includes for staff seconded into the Wantirna & Croydon pilot.

Members raised issues in relation to some staff affected by the pilot at Wantirna and Croydon and NTEU has confirmed no staff member will be forcibly seconded or required to change their PD as part of the pilot. Any member advised otherwise should contact Wayne Cupido on 0438 333 665 or Josh Cullinan on 0416 241 763.

Many NTEU TAFE members will participate in the classification campaign. A number of NTEU TAFE members are also participating in the contracts campaign.If you have any colleagues – whether TAFE or agency staff – who are concerned about their employment status it is essential they contact Josh or Wayne as soon as possible.

NTEU is now participating in a consultation process over the wider change proposal in accordance with the dispute settlement above. NTEU members at each campus will act as points of contact for this and NTEU will contact all TAFE members next week about who your contact is and the information we need.
National General Staff Survey
On Tuesday 16 August all General Staff NTEU members should receive an email inviting you to participate in an NTEU online survey of general/professional staff in higher education.  The survey is about your experience of classification and career structures, and will assist the NTEU in developing proposals for improvements.  Please take the time to complete it.
New Branch Committee
In the last month NTEU also welcomed several new members onto our Branch Committee. These include Ryan Hsu as Branch Secretary from SSAA and Matt Mitchell & Jos Vandersman joining Mark Carthew from Lilydale. All members are eligible to nominate for Branch Committee and the next round of full elections will be held mid next year. For more information on the current Branch Committee check out the Swinburne NTEU Branch website here:
NTEU Delegates Network
NTEU is currently building delegate’s networks at each of the Victorian Branches. Over the next few months we will be calling for expressions of interest in members becoming delegates and also asking members to endorse their colleagues in their role as a delegate. If you’d like more information about the role or want to be one of the first to have a delegate endorsement process in your work area, please contact Wayne Cupido on 0438 333 665 or [email protected].
Finally, thank you to all those members who have supported these important campaigns. We look forward to continuing to build a community at Swinburne that we can all be proud of.

On behalf of The Swinburne NTEU Branch Committee


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