Communist Party of Australia


The Guardian

Current Issue

PDF Archive

Web Archive

Pete's Corner


Press Fund


About Us

Why you should ...

CPA introduction

Contact Us

facebook, twitter

Major Issues





Climate Change



What's On






Books, T-shirts, CDs/DVDs, Badges, Misc


Issue #1572      7 November 2012

Curtin University wage deal

Staff at Curtin University in Perth have won an in-principle agreement to provide a 17 percent wage increase over four years. The in-principle agreement, which has been endorsed by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) executive and members, is the first to be negotiated in any of Australia’s 37 public universities in the current round.

“This will be the first time that academic and general staff at Curtin University will be covered by the same agreement – thanks to a vigorous on the ground campaign waged by the NTEU under the banner of ‘Many voices, One agreement’,” said Matt McGowan, NTEU assistant national secretary.

Key improvements in the deal include:

  • Reasonable salary increases
  • Firm workload caps for academic staff
  • Equal treatment for general and academic staff in serious misconduct and unsatisfactory work performance issues
  • The creation of more secure work for casual staff with the introduction of Scholarly Teaching Fellows, to be created from previously casualised work
  • Improved career development options for general staff

“While there are many differences in the work performed and the expectations about their roles, both academic and general staff are entitled to fair and reasonable treatment in dealing with serious misconduct, unsatisfactory work performance, managing change, security of employment and superannuation. Career prospects for general staff are set to improve,” McGowan said.

“The NTEU has been on a mission to ensure that general staff receive the same job security protections enjoyed by academic staff in cases of serious misconduct and unsatisfactory work performance, including access to review committees. Curtin University will no longer be able to summarily dismiss general staff.”

McGowan said that the EBA provided for firm caps on teaching loads.

“Teaching and research academics will have hours of teaching contact capped at 260 hours (40% load), 340 hours (50% load) or 420 hours (60% load). In a significant change, the NTEU has agreed that new teaching focused jobs can be created with a 75% teaching load, capped at 550 hours pa,” he said.

“Importantly, casual staff will get a better deal as part of our national push to create 2,000 teaching-focused positions, known as Scholarly Teaching Fellows, to perform 20% of the work currently undertaken by casual staff.

“Under the Curtin agreement, 5% of the load carried by casuals will be converted to Scholarly Teaching Fellow positions over each year of the agreement. These new positions will carry 75% teaching loads for between 24-36 weeks, with cap of 550 contact hours annually. It’s a major advance for casuals who are largely excluded from access to full-time academic posts even though they now account for 50% of undergraduate teaching in Australian universities.”

McGowan said that the deal was good news for Curtin staff.

“There’s been some give and take but, overall, the new EBA will benefit all staff. It represents a good base for further negotiations in other universities. Nationally, we’re determined to convert 20% of casual work into full-time on-going Scholarly Teaching Fellow positions. Academia is the third most casualised profession in Australia,” he said.

The NTEU will be directly represented on selection panels for these positions.

This is the first agreement in Western Australia where the NTEU has had exclusive coverage of the majority of general staff after the Community and Public Sector Union relinquished coverage of general staff at Curtin University in 2011.

It is hoped that final negotiations will be concluded to allow Curtin staff to vote on a final agreement in mid-to-late November, with final approval by Fair Work Australia expected before the end of the year.  

Next article – NSW state schools face handover to developers

Back to index page

Go to What's On Go to Shop at CPA Go to Australian Marxist Review Go to Join the CPA Go to Subscribe to the Guardian Go to the CPA Maritime Branch website Go to the Resources section of our web site Go to the PDF of the Hot Earth booklet go to the World Federation of Trade Unions web site go to the Solidnet  web site Go to Find out more about the CPA