Mac Uni staff, students march on VC’s office

Macquarie University NTEU branch president Cathy Rytmeister. Photo: NTEU/Flickr

National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at Macquarie University in Sydney took rolling industrial action across four faculties during the first teaching week of semester.

The industrial action was part of a campaign for a new collective agreement for academic staff.

Three hundred staff and students rallied on March 3 to hear about the bargaining impasse. Issues of concern for staff include overcrowded classes, lack of facilities, workloads, budget cuts and job security.

The meeting endorsed a “list of matters of concern” to be presented to the university’s vice-chancellor, Professor Steven Schwartz. About 100 staff and students then marched on Schwartz’s office to present the document. 

Following unsuccessful attempts to speak to a representative of senior university management, the crowd held a sit-in in the foyer.

Staff and students spoke about the overcrowding, inadequate staffing, course cuts and increasing workloads at Macquarie University. Schwartz appeared after 30 minutes and accepted a copy of the document endorsed by the meeting.

Macquarie University NTEU branch president Cathy Rytmeister told NTEU members in an online bulletin that the action “can leave the management in no doubt of the level of anger and widespread dissatisfaction with the way they have managed not only the bargaining but a whole range of internal matters from enrolment to facilities to budgeting. 

“They can no longer maintain their delusion that ‘only a few’ people are concerned about these matters."

On February 21, more than 100 staff at the University of New South Wales held a demonstration outside a university council meeting.

Speakers called on the vice-chancellor, Fred Hilmer, to negotiate an agreement with academic staff that restores job security, or resign from his position.