This week the union representing staff at USyd, The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), voted to take industrial action. The actions will include a strike at the University’s Open Day on August 26 and a further 24-hour strike on September 13. Industrial relations and union talk can be a bit confusing, so I thought I’d break down what is going on and why it matters to students.
For the past six months the NTEU and university management have been engaged in a process called ‘Enterprise Bargaining’. This is a process that determines the Enterprise Agreement that set out all the basic terms, conditions and pay for staff at the university. The university has failed to offer staff basic job security and failed to provide casual workers with better conditions. To top it all off, the university has offered a real pay cut to staff.
Due to the universities refusal to meet these key demands, NTEU members have decided to strike in order to put pressure on University management. Striking is a way for staff members to exercise their power by withholding their labor.
As students, our learning conditions are directly shaped by the working conditions of our staff. Cuts to the pay and conditions of our staff means more overcrowded tutorial and lectures, less face to face teaching time and longer lines for students support and services. An injury to one, is an injury to all.
It is important that we stand with our staff and acknowledge the contributions that they make to our university experience. Students standing in solidarity with staff will put even more pressure on the university. So strike with staff on the 13th of September, don’t come to your classes, and join the picket line.
Also, PLEASE make sure that you are enrolled to vote for the postal survey on marriage equality and that your details are up to date by this Thursday the 24th ! You can visit aec.gov.au to do all of the above so you’re able to vote YES to marriage equality.