STAFF have won a reprieve after the University of Ballarat dropped a proposal to outsource some of its employees.
Vice-chancellor David Battersby said as well as killing the partnering proposal, the university’s academic and professional staff had been given a 3 per cent salary increase.
“In the spirit of reaching a successful conclusion to enterprise bargaining the university is ... foreshadowing that it will not pursue the partnering (outsourcing) proposal that has been under consideration for a number of months,” Professor Battersby said.
“Instead, the university will implement efficiency dividends in light of ongoing funding constraints.”
On Monday, Professor Battersby told The Courier the university was examining the feasibility of outsourcing some staff.
Representative’s from the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), United Voice and Australian Workers Union (AWU) also spoke about their concerns for maintenance, gardening and catering staff.
Professor Battersby said all the university asked for was a renewed commitment to complete the current round of enterprise bargaining as soon as possible.
“As we look towards 2014 and the establishment of Federation University Australia, it is important that we seek to conclude, as quickly as possible, the current round of enterprise bargaining involving the NTEU, the AWU and United Voice,” Professor Battersby said.
“The university recognises the importance of enterprise bargaining, but also understands the current obstacles to bargaining in a climate where we have a federal election, planned funding cuts to universities by the Commonwealth and significant change and policy uncertainty in higher education.
“These circumstances are challenging (for all).”
Professor Battersby said the university had decided to provide the first of its 3 per cent salary increases to academic and professional staff and for this to be backdated to the first pay period in July 2013.
“This salary increase is above the current CPI and is higher than similar payments recently made by other Australian universities to their staff,” he said.
“The university has already indicated to the combined unions that it is willing to offer three further salary increases of 3 per cent through until June 2016 on top of other concessions in enterprise bargaining.
National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) Ballarat branch president Athan McCaw said all the concerned unions congratulated senior management at the university on its decision.
“The outsourcing proposal had been used at the bargaining table to lever concessions from the unions that would impact the employment terms and conditions of every member of the university community,” Mr McCaw said.
“The unions are pleased that this threat to our colleagues and members has now been removed, showing that all our concerns have finally had a positive effect.”
Mr McCaw said the unions would continue to negotiate achieving a fair increase in remuneration on par with other universities around Australia.
“In reference to that, we would like to stress that the common settlement point has been 4 per cent per year over four years,” he said.