More than 200 staff and students rallied outside the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) after staff took protected strike action on October 19.
Vince Caughley, UTS Branch President of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) told Green Left Weekly: “The major aim of our industrial action was to send a message to UTS management to respond to our claims. The NTEU has been bargaining for six months and as yet no senior management figures have come to negotiate with us.
“Casualisation is a huge issue at UTS. There are 8000 staff here and 5000 of them don’t have permanent positions — they are either casual or on short-term contracts.
“Indeed, the only thing UTS management offered is the removal of some core conditions. They want to abolish scholarly teaching fellowship positions, abolish the review processes in cases of misconduct or unsatisfactory performance and make it more difficult to take sick leave.”
The rally was chaired by NTEU branch committee member Sarah Attfield and addressed by Garrwa leaders from the First Nation Worker Alliance. Nancy Yuguwal McDinny and Gadrian Hoosan travelled from Borroloola, NT. They gave solidarity and called for permanent jobs for all workers.
President of the NSW branch of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union Rita Mallia said: “We really like building your new buildings Vice-Chancellor Attila Brungs, but you should spend money on staff.”
NTEU National President Jeannie Rea; NTEU state secretary Michael Thompson, UTS student Tooba Anwar; NTEU UTS member Amy Thomas; and Maritime Union of Australia NSW branch secretary Paul McAleer also addressed the protest.
Check the NTEU UTS website for details of further protests.