Staff at two universities in Sydney have taken steps towards industrial action just days after the USyd branch of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) took part in a 48-hour strike. These are University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and Western Sydney University (WSU).
The WSU NTEU branch voted on Friday to strike in three weeks, while NTEU members at UTS filed for a protected action ballot order with the Fair Work Commission on Saturday. A protected action ballot is a secret ballot that allows employees to vote on whether to initiate protected industrial action, such as a strike.
“Both at WSU and UTS, our members have been negotiating new corporate agreements for more than nine months. At UTS, management has failed to respond to our demands for job security, limits on workplace restructuring, overwork protections, and a fair wage increase, so NTEU members have demanded the right to take protected industrial action,” said NTEU NSW Secretary Damien Cahill. mentioned.
“At WSU, while negotiations are progressing well, management has made an unacceptable salary offer of 2% [per annum] and have not agreed to enforceable decasualization provisions. NTEU members therefore voted in favor of a strike,” Cahill said.
The students also provided support to the staff. In a statement to Honi, UTS Student Association President Anna Thieben said, “UTSSA fully supports the unanimous decision of UTS NTEU to call for a protected ballot. Their fight for job security and improved working conditions is also our fight because it will directly improve the quality of our education.
This follows a historic 48-hour strike between campuses at the University of Sydney, which saw staff at the traditionally conservative Conservatory of Music (a USyd satellite campus) join the action for the first time. .
“Last week’s 48-hour strike at the University of Sydney will likely be the first of many over the coming year if university managements across the country continue to ignore the voices of their staff,” Cahill said.
“Creeping managerialism is corroding universities, undermining working conditions for staff and working conditions for students. The staff have had enough and are ready to act.