University of Western Australia: Fair Work Commission announces decision

The Fair Work Commission has today issued its decision, confirming that the University of Western Australia complied with its obligations under the applicable enterprise agreement regarding consultation on the proposal for change within the School of Social Sciences.

In its decision, the Fair Work Commission said the University had not failed or refused to engage in formal consultation consistent with clause 36.4 of The University of Western Australia Academic Employees Agreement 2017.

Additionally, it said UWA had met its obligations under clause 36 of the Agreement to provide information about the major change.

The University will now proceed to adopt and implement the changes to the School of Social Sciences, as communicated to staff on 20 August.

UWA Vice-chancellor Professor Amit Chakma said the decision enabled the University to provide certainty for staff in the School.

“Today’s decision confirms that the School will refine its teaching and research program, and with a focus on improving student experience and employability, it will develop a clearer focus on the applied social sciences.

“The University reiterates its recognition of the importance of social sciences as a multi-disciplinary area of study, critical to addressing societal challenges.”

UWA Vice-chancellor Professor Amit Chakma
The University had already provided a guarantee that all undergraduate, postgraduate coursework and higher degree by research students would be able to complete their current course, Professor Chakma said.

Students who are currently completing the major of Anthropology and Sociology or a postgraduate coursework course in Urban and Regional Planning will be provided with individualised assistance and study plans to ensure they can complete their current course.

Subject to academic governance approvals, it is proposed that students will be able to enrol in the School’s new major of Anthropology in 2023.

“I recognise this matter has been of widespread interest and am pleased we can now move ahead,” Professor Chakma said.

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