VDPs – NTEU Wins Time For Financial Advice
As some members will be aware, NTEU is in dispute with the University over a number of very serious shortcomings following the Red Friday 6th July announcements. We are pleased that following intense negotiations between Senior Management and NTEU in recent days the University agreed to a range of changes which were announced this morning by email. That email is replicated in full at the bottom of this blog.
The key changes are:
- Consultation will occur over all proposals and Senior Management are open to changing proposals;
- The requirement for VSP Applications to be made within five days has been abandoned. All such applications will be required to be submitted by 20th August;
- VSPs can be accessed by staff where similar roles are eventually redundant and staff from those similar roles are redeployed into the role of a staff member who left with a Severance Package; and
- Staff remaining with Swinburne will be employed in meaningful and dignified work.
Examples of point 3 might include where a finance role in a Faculty is kept but a finance position elsewhere such as in TAFE is abolished. The Faculty staff member might leave with a VSP and the TAFE or other staff member might be redeployed into the Faculty finance position.
These are significant wins for NTEU members and come despite recent unequivocal statements from HR.
NTEU takes very seriously the inference that a University Council decision is purportedly inexorable. Our Union Collective Agreement ensures staff are consulted over major changes before they are decided on and before they are implemented. We have won commitments from the University that it will consult over the proposed changes at Lilydale, at Prahran, within TAFE and any others. NTEU is now negotiating our involvement in any project teams should proposed changes go ahead.
NTEU is also seeking a clarifying statement from Senior Management that the entitlement to work or wages is substantially more under a forced retrenchment than the current VSP offer. We are concerned that numerous statements by management have mislead staff into a belief that redeployment, notice, severance and salary maintenance are the same or less than the current offer. This is simply not true. Staff need to get financial advice about their personal circumstances but the current Union Collective Agreement and Fair Work Act provide substantial rights to work or wages should a position be targeted for redundancy. More information can be found at the bottom of our website here: www.nteu.org.au/swinburne/campaigns/tafe
Further, NTEU members on fixed term contracts which are ‘Research Only’ or ‘Specific Task or Project’ are also entitled to severance payments under certain conditions. Please contact our Branch office at x8162 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
University Communication to Staff - 30 July 20
I understand that at this time staff are looking for certainty as to what the future holds. We also recognise that staff will continue to have suggestions for how Swinburne can respond to changes in Government funding which have resulted in the decisions of Swinburne’s Council that were announced on 6 July 2012.
Swinburne will be meeting and consulting with unions in coming days and listening carefully to alternative courses of action, if and when presented.
We will continue to provide staff with information on how Swinburne is addressing the consequences of these decisions through updates at http://swinburne.edu.au/transforming. We will shortly provide relevant unions with further information which sets out the context for the proposed changes and have informed them of the process for consultation about those proposed changes prior to, then across the transformation projects.
Voluntary Separation Program update and clarification:
I would like to take this opportunity to reinforce some messages about the current changes and inform you of an adjustment to stage 3 of the Voluntary Separation Program as a result of feedback we have received.
Firstly, I would like to draw your attention to a change to the time frame for submitting the final application. A number of staff are finding that it is taking time to get appointments with financial advisers. To make this easier we have removed the need to submit the Application Form within 5 working days and, instead, now require you to submit the Application Form by 5:00pm on Monday, 20 August 2012.
There are still questions about making a role redundant and how this may impact more broadly on other team members. I will explain this by using an example:
Let’s say there are ten staff in total with similar roles in libraries across more than one campus. If two of those staff members work at Hawthorn and they apply for voluntary separation, the University may, for example, determine that it could make two roles out of the ten redundant. In this case, the University may accept the applications for voluntary separation received from the two staff members at Hawthorn. However, the University may further decide that the two roles that are redundant are not at Hawthorn, but at other campuses. In this case staff would need to be redeployed, relocated or transferred to work at Hawthorn and, if this did not successfully occur through consultation, the University could relocate staff in order to realign the staffing levels to the needs of the University.
There will be many other examples where substantially similar roles across different parts of the University can be treated in a similar way.
With respect to the Voluntary Separation Program that is currently underway, I wish to reiterate that the expressions of interest in this process are, of course, voluntary. While we will have to consider proceeding with targeted redundancies if the Voluntary Separation Program does not achieve the result required, it is expected that if the result is achieved, staff remaining will continue in their current positions, or be transferred, redeployed or otherwise engaged in meaningful and dignified work with Swinburne.
I hope that this information and the changes made regarding the application process for voluntary separation makes the VSP process easier to understand and has addressed your questions about the impact and the next steps. Whilst we have extended the date for final applications by one week, we will continue to endeavor to meet the deadline of 30 September 2012 in order to bring as much certainty as quickly as possible.