SCU staff lodge 65 claims in pay negotiations

STAFF at Southern Cross University has lodged a groundbreaking list of claims that includes several environmental measures and more family-friendly working arrangements as part of its pay negotiations.

The Community and Public Sector Union represents 550 general staff at the university such as gardeners, librarians, and administrative and technical staff, and has lodged 65 claims, including a 9 per cent pay rise.

Under the heading 'environmental sustainability and productivity' are provisions for staff to be consulted on ways 'to reduce the carbon footprint and increase energy and resource efficiency of the university'.

They are also asking for the university to help organise car pooling and to help some staff work from home.

“We are very proud of the green aspect and think it is fairly groundbreaking,” said the union branch president Toni Ledgerwood.

“The university does have an environmental sustainability officer, and teaches environmental science and business sustainability. This would help the uni become quite groundbreaking and reduce their carbon footprint,” she said.

Also on the list of claims is better recognition of the needs of indigenous families.

“We are asking the university to recognise a wider definition of family to include aunts, uncles and significant others, to ensure our indigenous staff have full access to family leave and entitlements, and that the university commits to indigenous employment targets,” Ms Ledgerwood said.

Also under the heading of 'allowing us to balance work and life' are claims for two weeks' paid grandparent leave, six weeks' paid partner leave for men whose partners have had a baby, a school holiday care allowance and financial support for on-campus child care.

“We are hoping we are successful with a lot of them. We hope the university has also got the best interests of staff when they are in negotiation mode and we can get up some of the really valuable stuff we've proposed,” Ms Ledgerwood said.

A branch meeting of the union voted unanimously to endorse the log of claims and it was presented to the Vice-Chancellor's office on Tuesday. It is hoped negotiations will begin within two weeks.

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