President’s Report: Week 12, Sem 1, 2017

Isabella Brook

Its week 12 and that means we’re one week closer to stuvac, exams and the end of Semester One ! I wanted to use this week’s report to update you all on an issue that has been pottering on for the entirety of this semester, and that is the Enterprise Bargaining that is taking place between the University and its staff.

Enterprise Bargaining takes place between employers and employees who are collectively organised and represented by their union. Enterprise Bargaining Agreements set out the basic terms and conditions for all employees. They include things like pay rates, bonuses and leave entitlements.

The main union that represents staff at Sydney Uni is the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU). The NTEU has three key asks in this round of Enterprise Bargaining. They want to see secure work that abolishes forced redundancies and improves rights for casual workers. They want increased staff participation in university decision-making and they want fair pay, leave and superannuation for all workers.
Sounds super simple right? Think again. The university has refused to come to the table on many of these key claims and is instead proposing changes that will strip away some of the basic rights of our staff.
You might be thinking, why does this matter? Why should students care about staff conditions? The reality is that staff working conditions are OUR learning conditions. When the rights of staff are eroded we see changes like bigger class sizes and less face to face teaching time. If our teachers are stressed or overworked due to poor conditions the quality of our education will be impacted. This is why it’s important that, as students, we show our solidarity and fight for the rights of the staff at this university.
We’re going to be hearing a lot more about the Enterprise Bargaining in the upcoming months. The SRC encourages all students to support the NTEU in their fight for fair working conditions and pay. Have your voice heard and let your lecturers, tutors and professors know that you support them.