National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at the University of Sydney (USyd) are gearing up for a 24-hour strike on August 17 in support of an improved Enterprise Agreement (EA) they have been pushing since August last year. This will be their third industrial action this year.
More than 93% of the 350 NTEU members who attended a mass meeting on August 2 supported the strike motion. Members are angry about the university’s failure to address staff’s need for real pay raises beyond inflation and to halt forced redundancies and casualisation.
USyd NTEU president Nick Reimer told student paper Honi Soit on August 3 that “NTEU members voted to strike on August 17, and then [again] on Open Day [August 27], because we know how hostile the VC [vice-chancellor] and Provost are”.
He said they were ready for a protracted campaign of industrial disruption “until we get the results we so badly need”. “We’re in this for the long haul,” Reimer said. “Management clearly wants to wear us down.”
The NTEU is also campaigning for improved rights for professional staff to work from home, protection of academics’ right to current research allocations, enforceable targets for First Nations employment and an end to overwork and exploitative casualisation.
Honi Soit reported that the union’s Bargaining Team said management’s pay rises offered so far were all below the rate of inflation, meaning that staff are being asked to agree to a real pay cut. USyd, however, recorded a $1.04 billion surplus last year.
Meanwhile, the Rank and File Action-Usyd team’s campaign for the NTEU USyd elections has included campus forums on neoliberal education and leafleting blitzes to build support for the August 17 strike. The elections opened on August 3 and will close on August 29.
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