University of Southern Queensland launches attack on staff conditions

National Tertiary Education Union

The University of Southern Queensland has proposed major cuts to staff working conditions while walking away from negotiations with the National Tertiary Education Union.

Instead of negotiating constructively with union members, UniSQ management has told staff that they will cease negotiating directly with the Union and will seek conciliation.

UniSQ claims there has been an “extremely protracted” bargaining process.

The NTEU agreed to management’s request to delay the start of bargaining from March 2021 and attempted to get the University to start in July 2022 but it took until December 2022 for the University to come to the table.

Staff waited 21 months for negotiations to start.

Separately, the NTEU alleges UniSQ management breached the existing enterprise agreement when it tried to make changes to work health and safety arrangements without consultation.

NTEU UniSQ Branch President Professor Andrea Lamont-Mills said:

“People across Toowoomba, Ipswich and Springfield will be shocked to learn university management is treating staff so poorly,” Prof Lamont-Mills said.

“It’s incredibly disappointing management has walked away from direct negotiation when union members just want a fair deal.

“UniSQ has rocketed up the global university rankings to be in the top 301-350 in the world. That is 100 per cent down to the hard work of staff.

“How does university management repay them? Attacks on conditions and a refusal to constructively negotiate a new enterprise agreement.

“UniSQ management should abandon its unnecessarily aggressive approach and return to the bargaining table with the NTEU.”

NTEU National President Dr Alison Barnes said:

“The federal government wants all universities to be exemplary employers but UniSQ is proving to be the complete opposite by misusing workplace laws in an attempt to cut conditions,” Dr Barnes said.

“Regional employers including universities are the lifeblood of communities.

“That’s what makes it even more galling that UniSQ management is trying to strip entitlements and appeal rights while doing nothing about the explosion in casual work.

“The NTEU has successfully stopped similar attempts to ram through substandard wages and conditions by pushing bargaining to conciliation. We will fight this every step of the way.”

/Public Release.