The new and improved University of Tasmania Staff Agreement 2021-2025 is a testament of hundreds of union members representing thousands of workers at Tasmania’s second largest employer – campaigning together for better pay, improved job security, more manageable workloads and new rights for our new world.
It wasn’t an easy task, with UTAS Senior Management walking away from negotiations and attempting to force staff to accept a second-rate offer until unions announced industrial action in October that forced them back to the table. The campaign, and the wins union members have secured, are a testament to how the values we prize in our university – academic freedom, innovation, flexibility in employment and leading the way on issues of civil rights – have had their roots in the perseverance and militancy of union activists. ‘
Improved Leave for Caregivers:
Secondary caregivers now receive an additional 5 days paid leave (up to 15) as well as ten days unpaid partner leave (previously 0), to be taken either in a continuous period or flexibly within the first 12 months of the birth (or placement) of a child.
Caregivers are now entitled to 2 days paid placement-related leave for attending interviews or examinations relating to the placement of a child. Surrogates are also entitled to 6 weeks paid surrogacy leave.
Also for the first time, 3 ex gratia paid leave days will be provided for staff who usually are required to work when the University closes between 25 December and 1 January.
Improved rights to consultation:
Introduction of a commitment that UTAS recognises the rights of workers to union membership and representation, as well as to be consulted on matters which directly affect them in their employment.
Formation of a Communication and Consultation (CCG) group implemented with the purpose of overseeing compliance with the Agreement across the university, including monitoring required reporting and ensuring regular communication. This group will meet no less than eight times per year and is composed of multiple union and employer representatives.
13.5% pay increase over four years; 4.6% in 2022, 3% in 2023, 2.5% in 2024 and 3.4% in 2025.
More Secure jobs:
Definition for Eligibility for Conversion to Casual Employment has been drastically overhauled, removing a requirement that casuals worked an average of 36.75 hours per fortnight over the previous 12 months or were employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least 24 months.
Now employees will be eligible if they were employed for a period of twelve months and worked a regular pattern of hours for at least six months prior. People and Wellbeing are now required to notify casual employees on meeting the criteria, rather than notifying employees annually. The university is required to make a determination within 21 days.
Continuing Contingent Funded Employment (CCF):
A new category of employment which we’re seeing across new university agreements. It provides improved security and conditions to fixed-term staff whose employment is contingent on funding from external sources other than operating grants from Government or student levies (such as ongoing private donations). This clause entitles workers in these roles to severance pay commensurate with length of service in addition to minimum notice of termination. It also restricts the Employer’s ability to terminate employment to limited grounds including cessation of funding, or the outcome of a probationary or disciplinary process.
Gender Affirmation Leave:
As part of negotiations, unions representing academic and professional staff at the university pushed for Gender Affirmation Leave of up to 30 days per annum for permanent and fixed-term employees. UTAS hit back at this claim, offering just 10 days special leave for all staff, not specifically for trans and gender diverse staff. After members voted to take industrial action, UTAS finally agreed to 30 days paid leave, non-accruing, as well as a commitment to supporting Employees to affirm their gender (transitioning) in a safe, positive and inclusive manner.