University Staff To Strike Wednesday, Demanding Better Pay, Permanent Work

“We are determined to stamp it out”

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NTEU Instagram

Thousands of tertiary staff will strike on Wednesday as they demand for action against wage theft, casual employment, stagnant wages and severe underfunding.

In Victoria, Monash, Melbourne and Deakin Universities will be among campuses effected, when staff will walk off the job and convene at the Victorian Trades Hall.

Wednesday’s strike will mark the peak of nation-wide actions which commenced on Monday.

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National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) President Dr Alison Barnes said the national week of action was designed to insert decasualisation provisions in the enterprise bargaining agreements of every Australian university.

“For too long, Australian universities have allowed casualisation and its toxic twin, wage theft, to flourish. We are determined to stamp it out,” Dr Barnes said.

“We are actively bargaining at 24 universities and intend to give thousands of workers the rights, security and stability that comes with permanent employment. Everyone who works regularly deserves to be able to plan for basic life events like illness, holidays or buying a home.”

About three in ten university jobs are permanent and NTEU is fighting to increase this, winning “decasualisation” clauses at Western Sydney University, Australian Catholic University and University of Technology Sydney in the last six months.

The University of Sydney is about to sign off on a major decasualisation clause, converting 330 casual positions to permanent.

A wage theft report by NTEU in February revealed universities nation-wide have been made to pay back more than $80 million in wages stolen predominantly from casual workers.

Melbourne University was among the universities made to pay back the most, with almost $32 million returned to its workers.

NTEU General Secretary, Dr Damien Cahill, said the workforce was at breaking point.

“Thousands of university workers will walk off the job or take part in protests, not because they want to, but because they have to,” Dr Cahill said.

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Tricia Mifsud

2 May 2023

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Tricia Mifsud

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