77. Dispute avoidance and settlement

77.1.  A ‘dispute’ is a disagreement specific to the application of the provisions contained within this Agreement or the National Employment Standards in the Fair Work Act 2009.

77.2.  Notwithstanding clause 58.4 of the Agreement, a staff member who is party to a dispute under clause 77 may appoint a representative of their choice, a union or staff representative for the purposes of the procedures outlined in clause 77.  A staff member and/or the supervisor may seek procedural advice from Human Resources staff at any time during the processes set out below.

77.3.  It is agreed that the University, staff and unions have an interest in minimising disputes. Where a dispute, as defined in clause 77.1, arises the procedures set out in this clause shall apply.

    Dispute procedures

    77.4.  In the first instance, reasonable attempts should be made to resolve disputes in good faith at the local level. The staff member(s), or their representative will first raise the matter with their supervisor, their supervisor’s supervisor or with their local area delegate.

    77.5.  Notwithstanding clause 77.4, a union may also initiate this procedure by raising a dispute with the University in writing and reasonable attempts should be made to resolve the dispute in good faith.

    77.6.  If the matter remains unresolved after reasonable attempts have been made in accordance with clauses 77.4 or 77.5, the staff member(s), representative, or a union may refer the matter in writing to the Chief People Officer. This must specify:

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

    77.7.  The Chief People Officer will seek to resolve the matter identified in clause 74.6 within one week, or refer the matter to a Disputes Committee for resolution.

    Disputes Committee

    77.8.  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.

    Requirements during a dispute

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

    77.10.  If a dispute is referred to the FWC, a party to a dispute will not take any action to aggravate a matter in dispute.

    77.11.  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.

      Other matters

      77.12.  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.

      77.13.  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.

      77.14.  A dispute which has been formally notified under the dispute settlement provisions (clause 74) of The Australian National University Enterprise Agreement 2017-2021, but which has not concluded at the time at which this Agreement commences will continue to be dealt with in accordance with the relevant provisions that applied under The Australian National University Enterprise Agreement 2017-2021.


      Page owner: Human Resources