The National Tertiary Education Union at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) took strike action on August 20 after negotiations with UTS management around an enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) stalled.
Staff and students held a picket line at the city campus and asked students and staff to turn away and respect the picket. The action was held to coincide with the National Day of Action called by students against the federal government’s proposed education cuts.
A rally of around 100 staff and students the NTEU held at midday at UTS was addressed by Brian Parker from the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union.
He said: “The CFMEU is under severe attack from the Australian Building and Construction Commission at a time when we need more union support for health and safety. Every nine minutes in our industry a worker is severely injured or killed.”
Acting president of the UTS NTEU branch Vince Caughley noted that UTS has one of the highest casualisation rates of staff of any university. Part of the EBA negotiations is demanding more teaching scholarship fellows — which would see casual staff move into more permanant work.
Other speakers included president of Unions NSW Mark Lennon, Michael Thompson from the NTEU Sydney University branch, the president of the UTS student association Chris Gall, and Keiko Yasukawa, a casual staff member at UTS who has been employed casually since 2007.