The results of the two ballots that considered variations to the University’s Enterprise Agreements are as follows:

The result of the Variation to the University of Wollongong (Academic Staff) Enterprise Agreement, 2019 Employee Ballot

821 voted YES i.e. to approve the proposed Variation (85.52% of voters).

960 employees registered a vote.

The result of the Variation to the University of Wollongong (Professional Services Employees) Enterprise Agreement, 2019 Employee Ballot

1,144 voted YES i.e. to approve the proposed Variation (87.26% of voters).

1,311 employees registered a vote.

As the majority of staff participating in both these ballots are in favour of adopting the variations to the Enterprise Agreements, UOW will now proceed to the Fair Work Commission to seek to make these changes.

Your vote is a critically important step to help stabilise the University’s finances. Thank you for your collective leadership in helping make this change. The agreement to make a temporary adjustment and reduce personal benefits is a selfless act to support each other.

The position you have approved is distinctive and sets UOW apart. It is a local deal that is multiyear, inclusive of the interests of two unions (CPSU and NTEU) and helps minimise job losses.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to generate lots of uncertainty. For UOW, this is evident in two significant ways. First, is the need to stay focused and vigilant on our personal health and wellbeing and also that of others so that we protect our staff, students and visitors. Second, is the ability to rebuild onshore international student numbers, which depends on the availability of safe quarantine processes, and, in the medium-term a widely available vaccine. We can devise ways to deal with the first problem. The second is feasible at an operational level, but the politics of implementing this are immensely complex.

The coming period will not be easy or straightforward. We should expect that budget recovery could take several years and for our organisation to undergo transformation to ensure we can continue to grow and advance our mission. To assist the University, we will need to keep operational costs constrained, to defer large-scale capital expenditure unless there are investments from major partners, and move rapidly to adopt organisational changes which deliver recurrent savings.

Our budget plan, which Council approved in May, has been to anticipate a slow recovery in higher education and build a safe and resilient pathway for UOW to 2023. Your collective decision to adopt the variations to the Enterprise Agreements is an important step on this journey. We should recognise the monumental work of members of JCC and their efforts in putting together the text of the variations we have now considered.