NTEU warns of strike action in Sydney

February 28, 2014

Members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) on University of Western Sydney campuses took action on February 28 to highlight management's refusal to agree to a fair enterprise agreement. They have been without an agreement for more than a year.

On the Bankstown campus of UWS, a number of unionists and students gathered to hear from union activists.

They said that after 12 months of meetings with management they felt that little progress had been made. In the meantime, they were having to deal with increased workloads and increases in the cost of living.

The NTEU officials also said that the new management's offer was actually a pay cut because of the increases in academic workloads. They also reported that the university had a $47 million operating surplus last year.

An NTEU member, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: "Staff already work for free to meet student's needs, and this should be acknowledged by UWS executives by giving staff better protections”.

A warning was also given to students: "If this matter is not resolved it may disrupt your learning experience at UWS. This is something we hope to avoid. However, remember staff working conditions are directly related to student learning opportunities."

NTEU branch president Jan Falloon told Green Left Weekly later that the actions held across all UWS campuses early in the semester were important.

"The feedback from all campuses was extremely positive, both the turnout and responses from staff and students getting the fliers and lollipops.

"There were also many union members who withdrew their labour for the hour but were unable to attend the actions. A few have said they're going to join the NTEU and students are now asking how they can be more involved in the campaign to support staff. This all reinforces our determination to continue our campaign until the university executive re-engages in bargaining and demonstrates a commitment to the staff and students."

Falloon also confirmed that strike action was a clear possibility if this didn't happen soon.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.