The National Tertiary Education Union says that ANU workers should not have to use their annual leave over the Christmas break, as the union and the university work to negotiate a new enterprise agreement.

The ANU believes that staff have trouble using all of their annual leave and, therefore, need more opportunities to do so.

The NTEU organised a ‘Christmas In July’ event at the pop-up village on Tuesday, protesting the ANU’s proposal which would force ANU staff members to use their annual leave over the Christmas break.

The NTEU represents all staff at university, from lecturers to librarians.

Currently leave across the Christmas break is not included in the annual leave that staff members receive. In this new enterprise agreement, the ANU have proposed that staff members use their own annual leave during the break.

The NTEU ACT Division secretary, Rachael Bahl, said that University workers do not struggle to use their leave. ‘I can tell you that the staff I’ve spoken to have no trouble using their leave for things they want to do, like holidays with their friends and family,’ she told Woroni.

Bahl does not think the changes are necessary or ethical. ‘ANU staff work very hard. They actually work more hours than they need to work and this is an entitlement they’ve had for many years. We don’t think staff should lose that entitlement,’ she said.

Bahl conceded that some staff members would be happy with the proposal if they were able to work on those days that they would usually get off.

The idea is just a proposal at this point, ANU staff will have to wait to see it is implemented.

‘ANU is negotiating a new Enterprise Agreement with all staff in good faith. Negotiations are continuing with the NTEU on a broad range of issues; the discussions have been constructive,’ an ANU spokeswoman told Woroni.

The ANU and the NTEU will sit down on 14 August to discuss the proposal.