74. Dispute avoidance and settlement

This clause is to be read in conjunction with an undertaking Undertaking (PDF 350KB). The Undertaking is accepted to be a term of this Agreement.

74.1.    A ‘dispute’ is a disagreement specific to the proper application of the provisions contained within this Agreement or the National Employment Standards in the Fair Work Act 2009 (other than a dispute about whether the University had reasonable business grounds under sub-section 65(5) or 76(4) of the Fair Work Act.).

74.2.    The staff member(s) may appoint and be represented by a union or staff representative of their choice in accordance with University procedure on staff representation.

74.3.    It is agreed that the University, staff and unions have an interest in minimising disputes. Where a dispute, as defined in clause 74.1, arises the procedures set out in this clause shall apply. 

74.4.    In the first instance an attempt should be made to resolve disputes in good faith at the local level. The staff member(s) will raise the matter with their supervisor or their supervisor’s supervisor, and reasonable attempts should be made to resolve the dispute.

74.5.    If the matter remains unresolved after reasonable attempts have been made, the staff member(s) or their representative, or a union may refer the matter in writing to the Director – Human Resources. The staff member(s) or their representative must specify:

  • the matter in dispute;
  • why it is disputed; and
  • at least one proposal or option for resolution. 

74.6.    The Director – Human Resources will seek to resolve the matter identified in clause 74.4 within one week, or refer the matter to a Disputes Committee for resolution. 

74.7.    Where convened, a Disputes Committee shall consist of an equal number of staff nominees (normally two each) from the University and the relevant union. The Disputes Committee will commit to resolving dispute as soon as possible, and shall attempt to resolve the matter within two weeks of its first meeting. Unless otherwise agreed, if the matter is not resolved within the two week period any party to the dispute shall be entitled to regard the internal dispute settling procedures as having been exhausted.

74.8.    Without prejudice, until the dispute settling procedures outlined in this clause have been exhausted, work will continue as normal, and the matter shall not be referred to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) by any party to the dispute. 

74.9.    Where a genuine safety issue arises, the University will not require staff to work in an unsafe environment. Staff will accept reassignments, suitable alternative work and relocation until their normal workplace has been declared safe. 

74.10.    Should the dispute not be resolved by the procedures outlined in this clause the matter may be referred to the FWC for conciliation and/or arbitration. The parties agree to be bound by FWC’s resolution of the dispute. Where the FWC determines that it does not have jurisdiction to arbitrate, the parties agree to be bound by any agreed recommendation made by the FWC during conciliation to resolve the dispute.

74.11.    Nothing in this clause prevents the parties from agreeing to refer an unresolved dispute to a person or body other than the FWC for resolution.

74.12.    Where a staff member has a right to seek the review of a decision, or has sought such a review, pursuant to clause 57 (Ill health assessment) or clause 78 (Review of decision) of The Australian National University Enterprise Agreement 2013 – 2016 (‘the former Agreement’), and the review remains unresolved as at the commencement date of this Agreement, the provisions of the former Agreement continue in effect and are incorporated into this Agreement to the extent required to enable the implementation or resolution of a review, and the implementation of any decision by the University following the completion of such a review.


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