SUPPORT STAFF WORKLOAD
NTEU Branch committee support staff representatives at UTS have identified that high workload is an aspect of employment that UTS support staff are particularly concerned about. The Branch Committee is particularly interested in hearing UTS support staff views on this issue, but would be very interested in hearing from other branches too. (We have also identified that support staff is an outdated term, despite being in the title of our agreement!)
The Branch Committee reps have identified that issues in support staff work areas tend to become isolated and insulated from support staff in other areas. The result is that people think their concerns are purely local or occupational issues, rather than symptoms of common issues for support staff generally. We encourage support staff to bring these concerns to the attention of the Branch Committee to help us achieve a better overall picture of workplace patterns.
This type of understanding of patterns means that the Union can understand these issues on a larger scale, which is particularly useful in future rounds of bargaining and for monitoring how practices in one area affect management expectations in other areas.
Towards a broader understanding of workload overload
Your support staff branch committee reps, would like you to feel free to privately share with us your experiences about the factors which are leading to increased workload. These can be experiences generally felt in your work area or your own personal experiences.
The current enterprise bargaining agreement negotiated by your branch specifies that UTS support staff have the right to seek a review of their workload with their supervisor, and if the issue is still not resolved, they can approach their supervisor’s supervisor for a determination. Have you used this clause and what has been your experience of it?
Some factors we know affect workload, and which we would also like to hear from you about are:
1. Line management issues (e.g. confused, inconsistent, or conflicting messages from different management levels)
2. Lack of replacement of staff
3. Increased volume of work due to institutional pressures eg. over-enrolment of students
4. Conflicting priorities
5. Demands to regularly work beyond fixed hours to keep up with workload and fear of allegations of performance issues if these demands are not met
6. Lack of flexi-time in your work area
Also it would be good to hear "good news" reports from people who have experienced positive solutions to workload issues. Maybe we can learn from these examples and help to promote positive, successful and tried approaches.
You can contact your Branch Committee support staff reps about your experiences and any ideas for addressing workload issues via Belinda Viset (Branch Organiser): firstname.lastname@example.org.