- The Guardian
- Issue #2073
Queen’s College, University of Melbourne. Photo: Donaldytong (CC BY-SA 3.0)
National Tertiary Education Union members at the University of Melbourne have launched an unprecedented one-week, campus-wide strike.
In a significant escalation of industrial action, all NTEU members stopped work from midday on October 2 until 11.59pm on October 8.
This action follows the historic strike in August.
Union members in key parts of the University went on strike for a week or more over management’s failure to engage with reasonable claims around secure jobs and a pay rise.
NTEU members at RMIT have also gone on strike for half the day, marked with a rally weloming a march from University of Melbourne NTEU members.
NTEU National President Dr Alison Barnes said:
“Victoria is seeing unprecedented strike action in universities because staff have had enough of being denied fair pay, secure jobs and safe workloads.
“The University of Melbourne has engaged in $45 million worth of wage theft and hands $1.5 million a year to its vice-chancellor.
“The idea that any of the union’s claims are anything but affordable and practical ways to improve the university simply doesn’t stack up.
NTEU Victoria Division Secretary Sarah Roberts said:
“NTEU members at the University of Melbourne and RMIT are showing incredible resolve in the face of managements that are refusing to constructively engage on very modest claims.
“Providing staff with safe workloads must be a priority for all employers, especially public universities.
“All across the state, this year we’ve seen staff say enough is enough. This is about ensuring our universities serve staff, students and the public as best they can.”
NTEU University of Melbourne Acting Branch Secretary Chloe Mackenzie said:
“Despite some progress since the last strike, there are simply too many areas that management has failed to engage constructively on,” she said.
“This follows months of delay on the part of management leaving staff with little choice but to take the drastic step of a university-wide strike for a whole working week.
“Our critical claim to address excessive workloads has been ignored; we haven’t seen anywhere near enough progress on limiting restructures; and the University continues to refuse to provide for reasonable working from home arrangements for professional staff.”
“Moreover, despite recent news stories which have spotlighted institutional racism perpetrated within the University against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and students, management haven’t budged on our very modest claims for mandatory provision of cultural awareness and safety training for all staff nor a requirement that cultural load be recognised in the workload allocations of indigenous employees.
“University senior management have strongly emphasised that they want a union agreement completed soon – we call on them to progress negotiations so that this goal is achieved.”
National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU)