A BREAKTHROUGH has been reached between Deakin University and unions threatening industrial action over a pay row.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) says its long-running stand off with the university may be at an end after accepting a three per cent pay claim on Tuesday.
The agreement comes months after academic staff in Warrnambool withheld student results and held a 24-hour work stoppage.
As well as the three per cent salary rise annually over four years, staff have also been offered an additional $1200.
The union had been campaigning for a seven per cent pay rise and other conditions including a reduction in the number of casual staff.
Deakin’s vice-chancellor Jane den Hollander said the new agreement was ‘‘fair and sustainable’’ and promised to reduce the number of casually employed academic staff by creating up to 40 full-time positions across campuses.
“I am delighted we have been able to conclude negotiations and confident that the new agreement will position Deakin well to achieve its strategic plan, now and into the future,” Professor den Hollander told The Standard.
In June Professor den Hollander said initial demands “would cost the university $120 million” but yesterday could not say how much the latest agreement would cost.
“We don’t yet have the costing of the overall agreement, as the agreement is provisional and the parties are currently working through key provisions.”
NTEU Victorian secretary Colin Long said the budget cuts to Deakin University from the federal government had made it “very hard” for the union to pursue a better pay claim.
“(The seven per cent) was always an ambit claim,’’ he said. ‘‘It was a tough bargaining agreement but there was commitment on both sides.”
“We’re very pleased with the 40 full-time jobs and family violence clauses — if you suffer from domestic violence and need to attend court it allows for an unlimited amount of paid leave,” he said.
He said the union had been given assurances that the pay rise would not cost jobs — a threat initially made by the university.
The agreement still needs to be ticked off by both the Fairwork Commission and union members.