If employees indicate in the survey that their preferred option is not to change their enterprise agreements, the university will not vote on any of the proposed changes, but will instead proceed to a process to save money under the current terms of enterprise agreements. This initial increase will be followed by a graduated increase (calculated from 19 September) above the expected consumer price index above the duration of the agreement. Professor Wellings invited employees to consider three options to help save money. Two of the three options are different in enterprise agreements by reducing wages on a sliding scale by salary level between 5% and 10% for 18 months, between 7.5% and 15% for 12 months. Employees can then choose to reduce their working time in proportion to their pay cut. The third option maintains the remuneration and conditions provided under UOW`s existing enterprise agreements. Either the option to amend enterprise agreements would minimize job losses and potentially limit them to 150 or 200 full-time equivalents (RDTs) out of the university`s 2,351 strong TDR workers, compared to the “status quo” option, which would require a significant reduction in enrolment across the university, which could double the job losses expected under one of the two options for amending the agreements. “This is an agreement that recognizes the dedicated work of our academics and, at the same time, puts UOW on a solid footing to prepare for the future in a rapidly changing university sector,” said Professor Wellings. Due to the magnitude of the global recession and restrictions on movement of people across international borders, it is estimated that international students` incomes will be nearly half that of 2019 by 2022.
This reality is coupled with relatively flat projections for student enrollment in the country. If employees choose a change to the enterprise agreement as their preferred option, UOW management will therefore develop a variation proposal and conduct the necessary formal consultation and vote before submitting it for approval by the Fair Work Commission. The university will now submit the new staff-approved agreement to the Fair Work Commission for approval. After approval by the Fair Work Commission, the agreement enters into force. Of the $691 million in revenue in 2019, UOW expects an unexpected 13% decline in 2020 to $601 million and brings back 2016/2017 revenues, resulting in a budget deficit of approximately $90 million. The agreement also contains a number of improvements to the paid leave provisions, including the requirement for 15 days of domestic and family violence leave; the introduction of a cultural and solemn leave for Aboriginal and Islander Torres Strait staff; and enhanced parental leave with five- to ten-day paid partnership leave. Academic staff at the University of Wollongong are committed to better pay and conditions after supporting a proposed new enterprise agreement. UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings said he was pleased that staff voted overwhelmingly in favour of the new agreement.