04 August 2011

Negotiating Commercial Operations

Dear Members,

As most of you know, the Union is currently in negotiations with the University administration regarding a potential transfer of the Union’s commercial operations including our food and retail outlets, Manning and Hermann's Bars, Academic Dress and the Venues Collection.

The Union is committed to delivering independent student programs, and it is therefore important for us to maintain an independent revenue stream that is derived from our commercial operations. And it seems you agree - in the survey conducted alongside the election last semester, an overwhelming majority (95%) of those who participated agreed that the USU should retain full control over its commercial operations, student experience and buildings. This position is obviously undermined by the desires of the University administration.

It is therefore my duty as President of the Union to update the members on where we are at in terms of the negotiations. So far, our negotiations with the University have been slow but very positive. We have communicated all of our core concerns to the University including student control over spaces in Manning, Wentworth and Holme, costs of a commercial operations transfer, security of Union staff employment, ongoing funding and student access to the bars. The University has acknowledged that any agreement that arises from these negotiations must satisfy our concerns. We will not be agreeing to any arrangement that fails to address these core concerns. Furthermore, we are constitutionally obliged to take any agreement with the University to a General Meeting of the Union, and approval of such an agreement would require a special majority to succeed. Therefore, the final approval of any arrangement with the University rests in the members’ hands.

Currently, the University is assessing the viability of a commercial operations transfer. That is, the University is looking at whether a transfer is feasible and financially viable for the University administration. However, this does not mean that we are any closer to a potential transfer. The assessment is merely an information gathering exercise and will provide another foundation from which to negotiate. Once the Union receives this business case from the University, we will present a response which may challenge some assumptions that the University has made in its assessment.

As soon as the University's position is delivered to the Union through this business case I will be communicating the Board’s position to the membership.

Thank you for your patience and support during these negotiations. It goes without saying that our priority is delivering the number one student experience in Australia, and we will continue to do just that.

Yours sincerely,

Sibella Matthews

1 comment :

  1. Shouldnt the uni concentrate on teaching and research? - leave the student life for students!!