Are the staff really striking AGAIN? asks Casey Thompson

Yes. The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) are taking further industrial action on June 5 2013. As before, it will be a twenty-four hour strike, and pickets will be at every main entrance from 7am. Many students have expressed that they’re annoyed and angry at the continued industrial action, but to let you in on a secret – so are the unions. Staff, whether academic or general, don’t want to have to continually take industrial action for their basic rights. Every day a staff member strikes they don’t get paid. Therefore, you can imagine that this is amounting to a lot of lost pay, and a lot of rent, grocery and medicine money foregone.

Sydney University staff are in the tertiary education profession because they love researching and helping students learn. Every day they strike is a day they don’t get to do this. No one particularly enjoys industrial action, and in an ideal world it wouldn’t be necessary.

However, it is unfortunately continually necessary at Sydney University as Michael Spence refuses to grant staff the basic conditions and pay levels that they require to successfully carry out their professions. Spence can afford to deliver an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) that does both of these things. Sydney University has a $93 million surplus. Therefore, even with the federal government funding cut of $45 million to Sydney University, Spence is still left with $48 million in savings to improve staff conditions and the quality of education that our institution delivers.

Please don’t go to class on the 5th of June, and even consider joining your staff and fellow students on the picket lines. The more successful this strike is (i.e. the less students that go onto campus and thus the more it brings the functioning of the university to a halt for the day) the more seriously Spence will take the unions’ EBA demands and the unions themselves as key stakeholders at the bargaining table in the future.

Therefore, the more successful the strike the quicker Spence will be at meeting the unions’ demands and industrial action will not be required in the future.

The primary purpose of this industrial action is not permanent disruption to the university, or to your education, it is temporary disruption that will help create a better quality education for all students in the long term.

Please consider sacrificing one day of your education to save your whole degree.

Bad working conditions for your staff mean bad conditions for your education. Please help us demand the quality education we deserve.

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