Enterprise Agreements (also known as Collective Agreements, and formerly Enterprise Bargaining Agreements) are primary industrial instruments regulating terms and conditions of employment. Agreements are negotiated by the local NTEU Branch and the Institution management and are voted on by employees.
Agreements are approved by Fair Work Australia and are legally enforceable instruments.
For nearly all NTEU members, your terms and conditions of employment are set out in a Enterprise Agreement, made between the NTEU on one side and a university, TAFE institute or other employer on the other. Each new generation of staff benefits from the efforts of thousands of union members who have gone before.
Enterprise Agreements are usually made for a period of three years. Near the end of each Agreement’s life, NTEU consults members about what should be claimed for the next Agreement. Meetings are held, and members’ views are sought, sometimes by surveys. NTEU also coordinates its bargaining strategy nationally, with delegates from all institutions meeting together to identify key issues which need to be defended or advanced on a national basis. This is because the outcomes of bargaining at each institution can affect negotiations at others.
Once the Union has prepared its claims at your institution, your local NTEU Branch chooses a team to negotiate with management. This team consists of local members who have been trained in bargaining, plus an experienced member of NTEU’s industrial staff. Management usually has its own claims to reduce your conditions of employment, and it is rare that agreement is reached easily on salary increases.
Negotiating your Agreement usually takes months and can sometimes take longer than a year. When there is an impasse in bargaining, members can decide to take industrial action in order to put pressure on management to reach an Agreement.