Australian universities have a proud history of producing excellence and exceeding expectations. We produce world-leading research. We open the minds and pave the career paths of our young people and enrich our communities.

These achievements are built on the contributions of passionate and dedicated staff. We are rightly proud of the work we do. But to do our best work, we need secure jobs, a healthy balance between work and personal lives, fair workloads and respectful, inclusive workplaces. Better workplaces make better universities.

In 2022, NTEU members from across the country are campaigning for working conditions that will make our universities better places to work and study. Will you stand with us?

Time for public unis to invest in staff

  • A pay rise of 15% over the life of new (3 year) agreements
  • Investment in quality, secure jobs

The capacity to pay, to invest in staff and public education.

University of Sydney 2021 net result

2020 net result: $109m

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Secure
jobs

Fair
workloads

Professional
staff respect

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander commitment

Inclusive
workplaces

Work/life
balance

Secure jobs for university staff

  • Conversion to permanent after 3 years’ continuous service or 2 successive contracts.
  • Retrenchment, including voluntary retrenchment, may only occur where the work performed in the position is no longer required to be performed by anyone.
  • Improved conversion rights for casual staff.
  • Casual staff are paid by the hour, not by the task for all work.
  • Noone subject to organisational change process more than once during the life of the new Enterprise Agreement.
  • Paid sick leave for casual staff.
  • Allowances for casual staff for policy familiarisation and discipline currency
Job security is key to working together to build a fair and productive workplace. A university that values its staff does not subject them to the stress and uncertainty of permanent insecurity.

The majority of people at NSW universities don’t have permanent employment

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Casual and contract staff have become critical to the functioning of our universities. We are passionate and dedicated teachers, researchers and professionals — we deserve secure jobs. Where secure jobs are not possible, there needs to fairer pay and conditions for casual staff.

This round we are seeking paid sick leave for casual staff. In the past it has been assumed that casual loadings compensate for sick leave. But for casual staff, if all our work falls on one or two days, getting sick can cost us our weeks wages. This puts pressure on us to work while sick, which is unfair on us and unsafe for our campuses.

Use of rolling fixed-term contracts for ongoing work forces the best staff to look elsewhere for job security. That means we all lose valuable colleagues with experience and institutional knowledge. It means we have to pay unnecessary administrative costs training new staff.

Sadly, these days even a permanent job does not guarantee job security. Constant excessive and unnecessary restructuring and redundancies are exposing more staff to stress and uncertainty and causing chaos and disorganisation.

Fair, manageable workloads

  • Effective hours-linked caps on academic workload
  • Protections against excessive or uncompensated overtime
  • Ordinary professional staff hours no more than 36.75 hours per week between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday
  • Protections against work intensification as a result of organisational change
Workloads were already at crisis levels in our universities pre-Covid. Since then, job cuts and the demands of shifting online have tipped them further over the edge. It’s not fair or safe for staff to be forced to work late, on weekends or while on leave just to meet deadlines. It harms our health and our capacity to deliver excellent teaching, research and support services.

NTEU members are campaigning for measures to create fairer and safer workloads. University senior managers must prioritise staff and budget accordingly — we are its most important resource. If they want to do more, they need to employ more people.

Respect for professional staff careers

  • No-one subject to organisational change process more than once during the life of the new Enterprise Agreement
  • Conversion to permanent employment after 3 years’ continuous service or 2 successive contracts
  • Retrenchment, including voluntary retrenchment, may only occur where the work performed in the position is no longer required to be performed by anyone
  • Protections against excessive or uncompensated overtime
  • Ordinary professional staff hours no more than 36.75 hours per week between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday
  • Protections against work intensification as a result of organisational change
Professional staff make up more than 50% of total employees in our sector. We are the heart of a great university. We are highly skilled and dedicated to our work. We take as much pride in the achievements of our universities as our academic colleagues. We make a great team.

But our skill and dedication is not matched by the respect we are shown at work. We are constantly subjected to organisation change. Our input into those processes is usually ignored, with negative results for our work areas. Too many of us have to re-apply for our jobs every year.

NTEU members are seeking improvements that will show professional staff the respect we deserve and allow us the space to do our jobs and build meaningful careers supporting the universities we love.

Commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment

  • A numeric target equal to 3% of total staff by headcount
  • A monitoring committee with majority Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander membership and at least one NTEU rep
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are badly under-represented in our universities. Structural inequality has created a significant employment gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians. Reconciliation and justice have to extend into our workplaces.

The improvements we seek for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff are set by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander NTEU members. We are seeking meaningful, numeric employment. We want numeric targets because percentages constantly shift with total staff numbers and we want to see positive measures that give opportunities to more people.

Inclusive workplaces

  • Gender transition leave annum for essential and necessary gender affirmation procedures
  • Paid lactation breaks and an entitlement to safe, secure and private breastfeeding facilities
A fair workplace is an inclusive workplace. We must all work together to ensure that workplace fairness extends to everyone and that work is safe and welcoming to all.

NTEU members have proudly been at the forefront of both the trade union movement and wider society in championing improved parental leave and domestic violence leave. But our work is not done. This round we are seeking provisions to assist trans colleagues and further provisions for parents.

Fair and healthy work/life balance

  • No expectation that staff check email or attend to work duties outside normal work hours, on weekends or while on any type of leave
  • All staff should have reasonable permanent work-from-home rights
  • Ordinary hours for professional staff to be no more than 36.75 hours per week during the span 8.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday
  • Protections against excessive or uncompensated overtime
  • Effective hours-linked caps on academic workload
The Covid pandemic has shown us that it’s possible for many of us for work from home at least some of the time. It’s also shown that for many of us, that is preferable.

While we definitely still value office time for collaboration and community building, working from home a couple of days a week helps our work/life balance. We save wasted time and money commuting and can get a few chores done in break times, freeing up evenings and weekends for recreation and family time.

A healthy work/life balance requires more than just work-from-home provisions. We need to stop our work seeping into our personal and family time. We need the right to disconnect from work outside work time.

Five NTEU members, 3 men and 2 women, holding placards in support of their bargaining campaign.

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