On Thursday the 7th of March over two hundred staff members, and several hundred students, came together to form picket lines around the university. The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) led the industrial action against university management’s proposed Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA). The EBA plans to strip staff of their conditions and destroy the high quality of education that students expect, and deserve, from the prestigious University of Sydney (a university with a budgetary surplus of $93 million).
The student solidarity contingent was organised by the Education Action Group (EAG). The EAG is a collective of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) that runs all of the education campaigns that keep our university strong. Last year the EAG organised the fight back against the proposed cut of 340 academic and general staff. The campaign was a huge success with thousands rallying on Eastern Avenue and the majority of the staff jobs being saved. The EAG is calling on all students who value their staff, and their education, to once again join us in 2013. Last Thursday was just the beginning of the current campaign. The NTEU will most likely be taking rolling industrial action (i.e.: more strikes will take place over the coming weeks, and they are likely to be longer in duration than Thursday’s 24 hour stoppage.)
If you don’t want to join your fellow students and staff during these strikes, please at least skip class (and take a few days off to chill out from study!). You may wonder how missing a lecture or tutorial could ever be good for your education. These protests are needed if we are to preserve the high quality education that we receive here, if we are to stop overcrowding of classes and a decreased quality of teaching and academic support, throughout our entire degrees. We’re here for several years. A few days off to send a strong message that we won’t pay for low quality education, is worth it to get a high quality degree. If you really are concerned with missing out on your education then this is the movement to join, because if you don’t, our degrees will be devalued and we’ll miss out every day of the year. Fight for the quality working conditions our staff deserve and the quality education that we deserve.