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What’s in Deakin’s dud deal?

Want better pay and working conditions? Vote No to Deakin’s proposed staff ‘agreement’ so we can work towards a deal that all staff deserve.

Real pay rises | Secure jobs | Fair workloads

Not a member? Join NTEU and help us win better pay and conditions at Deakin.

Pay going backwards 

At every university that has negotiated a pay outcome with the NTEU (National Tertiary Education Union), the wage increases have been better than Deakin is offering. And everywhere that staff have voted down a non-union agreement, we’ve managed to negotiate a better pay outcome afterwards.  

See how your pay compares to other universities under Deakin’s proposed ‘agreement’ – check out the pay calculator chart.

Deakin’s offer  

Deakin’s pay offer is 2.85% per annum to the expiry of their proposed ‘agreement’. Where we have negotiated deals, we’ve secured higher pay rises, and we expect the same at Deakin. 

Comparison with other successful union-approved agreements: 

UTS (University of Technology Sydney) – 14.75 % / 3.53 % per annum 

ACU (Australian Catholic University) – 14.55 % / 3.64 % per annum 

QUT (Queensland University of Technology) – 14.10 % / 3.52% per annum 

WSU (Western Sydney University) – 13.45% / 3.66 % per annum 

Job insecurity crisis to continue 

While universities around the country are finally recognising the need to move away from their heavy reliance on casual and fixed term employment, Deakin seems determined to go in the other direction.  

Instead of engaging with the Union’s proposals for converting ongoing, core university work to secure jobs, the proposed deal does nothing to reduce casual employment. It actually expands the circumstances in which Deakin can use fixed-term instead of ongoing appointments, and introduces an unlimited number of part-year, fixed-term teaching focused jobs, which could be used to replace existing academic staff.  

NTEU-negotiated enterprise agreements have secured enforceable targets to decasualise the University through the creation of new full-time roles.   

Management’s proposed agreement will continue to treat casual staff as second-class employees, with superannuation paid at significantly lower rates than fixed term and full-time staff; no sick leave; and more.   

Not good enough, Deakin. Staff deserve an agreement that values and respects their work, not one that further degrades job security.

Workloads – no relief in sight 

Every survey of Deakin staff over the past decade has identified workload pressures as a critical concern for academic and professional staff alike. Over the last few years, Covid and the Deakin Reimagined job cuts have merely exacerbated these workload pressures.   

Despite this feedback from staff, management plan to tie down existing workload arrangements for another three years in their proposed ‘agreement’.   

The Union has proposed real changes to relieve excessive workloads, including yearly reviews of the faculty WAMs, a return to a 40/40/20 baseline for academic staff, worker-led workload committees, and no redundancies unless the work is no longer needed. But management’s deal fails to do anything meaningful to ease your workloads.  

A right to work from home? Forget about it?  

NTEU’s reasonable claims for professional staff to have an enhanced right to work from home, and for all staff to have the right to disconnect from work outside working hours, have been ignored by management in their proposed deal.   

Where the NTEU has reached agreement through negotiations, the NTEU has already won enhanced and enforceable working from home rights at ACU, WSU, RACGP and UTS.  

Wellness days … to come from your existing leave entitlements 

Instead of addressing the workload pressures that lead to staff burnout, the proposed deal would introduce an entitlement to two new ‘Wellness Days’. However, these are not offered as a new provision. Instead, they are just a different way to draw on your existing personal leave entitlements. 

Academic freedom … subject to management whim 

Recent high profile court cases have emphasised that the only legal protection for academic freedom in Australia is that found in union-negotiated enterprise agreements. A reference to university policy, like that found in Deakin’s current EBA, is not good enough. But instead of engaging with the Union’s proposal for robust, clear and enforceable academic freedom protections in the new agreement, management’s proposal is to water down the already weak existing clause to put beyond doubt that Deakin staff will have no legally enforceable protection for academic freedom.  

Long Service Leave – your rights reduced 

Under the existing agreement Deakin staff enjoy the entitlement negotiated by the NTEU across the sector, which is that if staff give sufficient notice (6 months for professional staff and 12 months for academics) we can generally set our own long service leave dates. Management’s proposed deal removes that right, enabling your preferred dates to be refused ‘on reasonable business grounds’.

Substitute days lost if you leave before Xmas 

The proposed deal replicates the current agreement in so far as providing five days of paid leave during the university Christmas/New Year closedown. In the current agreement, staff who leave the University prior to the closedown are paid some compensation for missing out on those extra days of paid leave. Management’s proposed deal deletes this provision. Particularly when taken together with their proposal for a new category of fixed-term part-year teaching-focused academic employment, there will likely be a large proportion of the university’s workforce who will miss out on the extra leave entirely.  

What happens when we vote NO? 

If this sub-par deal is voted up, it will be locked in as our Enterprise Agreement for the next three years.  

But if the majority of Deakin staff vote NO, management will get the clear message that staff want them to return to bargaining and negotiate a better deal with the NTEU.

At other universities where staff have voted down similar attempts to bypass negotiations and put forward sub-par deals like Deakin’s, management has returned with a better offer every time. We expect the same here.

With more members and a highly engaged workforce, the better the pay offer will be. Already many Deakin staff have joined the union as part of this campaign. Join NTEU today and help build pressure on senior management to do better and give you a deal you deserve.

This is not the best that Deakin management can do. Let’s VOTE NO to their draft ‘agreement’, and tell them to go back and listen to the voice of staff – the NTEU.  

 Deakin’s offer NTEU’s claim 
A pay rise in line with industry standards No Yes
Fair and safe working hours and workloads No Yes
An end to continuous restructures and redundancies NoYes
Improved job security for casual and contract staff NoYes
Professional staff WFH rights and rights to disconnect NoYes