Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt announced in an email to all staff yesterday that the pay increases scheduled for next July would come into effect early. All staff will receive a two percent pay increase from 6th January 2022, first paid in their 20th January payslip. 

This comes after a salary freeze in July 2020, pushing back a staff pay increase until mid-2021. Schmidt wrote yesterday that the “community’s decision to defer the July 2020 pay increase” was one that “saved jobs.” Of course, hundreds of staff have been made redundant, either voluntarily or involuntarily, since the COVID-19 pandemic began last year.

In his email, Schmidt shared that “the forecast on our ANU Recovery Plan 2021-2023 is tracking better overall than originally envisioned, and I believe it appropriate for the community to see benefit in our somewhat improved financial position.” 

The Vice-Chancellor also added that “[b]ringing forward this increase is an important way for the University to acknowledge and thank everyone for the goodwill they’ve shown over this most challenging period in our University’s history.”

In response to the pay increase, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) ANU Branch President Millan Pintos-Lopez expressed that it was a “welcome development… which recognises that it has been ANU staff who have put in the hard yards to sustain ANU through the pandemic.” Pintos-Lopez added, however, that it is “important to recognise that this is the 2021 pay rise, originally due last July, which was deferred with a promise that the deferral would prevent job losses.”

The NTEU Branch President concluded that “we hope it is just a first step in addressing issues like workloads, job security and salaries as we begin bargaining for a new Enterprise Agreement next year.” 

The student-led Education Activism Network (EAN) noted that the “2% pay rise is below the current inflation rate of 3%, this means that it’s effectively still a pay cut, as wages for ANU staff haven’t even kept pace with the increasing cost of living.” The Network remarked that “delaying this pay rise hasn’t saved jobs at ANU, instead generat[ing] a ‘large accounting surplus’ this year for Brian Schmidt.”

Additionally, the EAN pointed out the recent expiry of ANU’s Enterprise Agreement, highlighting that “the only thing that will improve wages and conditions at ANU is a determined fight by staff.”