Fair Work rejects Charles Darwin Uni’s new enterprise agreement

Article in The Australian

‘The nation’s employment watchdog has rejected Charles Darwin University’s non-union enterprise agreement due to voting irregularities.

The university enterprise agreement had been approved in November 2022 with 62 per cent of staff saying ‘yes’ to a four per cent pay increase and up to a $500 sign-on bonus.

Fair Work Australia commissioner Christopher Platt rejected the proposal after the NTEU raised concerns about ineligible casual staff who took part in the vote.

“This raised an issue as to whether the proposed agreement has been genuinely agreed,” Mr Platt said. He found the ballot included between 146 and 151 votes which were cast by casuals who weren’t working during the voting period.

NTEU general secretary Damien Cahill said the commissioner’s decision is a “circuit breaker” and the union will now seek to return to the bargaining table.

“It’s time to return to the negotiating table so we can reach an agreement that gives staff the fair pay rise they deserve while protecting against casualisation,” Mr Cahill said.

“We want a short, sharp negotiation to lock in an agreement which gives staff a proper pay rise to help everyone keep up with the soaring cost of living.”

CDU’s enterprise bargaining started in 2021 with the union asking for an eight per cent pay-rise, paid gender affirmation leave, menstruation or menopause leave and working home arrangement.

CDU vice-chancellor Professor Scott Bowman said Fair Work’s decision was “disappointing.”

“We know that there was strong support for our proposed enterprise agreement, and we are carefully considering our next steps,” Professor Bowman said.

Professor Bowman said the university may appeal the decision.’

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