The Guardian November 8, 2000


University of Western Sydney:
Unprecedented support for strike

by Andrew Jackson

The University of Western Sydney's (UWS) seven campuses will lie empty on 
Thursday, when academic and general staff walk off the job to protest 
forced restructuring and job losses. Classes will be cancelled, the gates 
will be locked and there will be a picket line at each campus.

"Staff and students are angry that management proposals for restructuring 
involve forced retrenchments resulting in crowding in classrooms and other 
services, staff being demoted to lower graded positions, less service to 
students, and a reduced ability to maintain quality education at UWS", 
stated Robyn Moroney, Branch President of the National Tertiary Education 
Union (NTEU) at UWS.

"The level of staff and student anger is reflected in the unprecedented 
support on this campus for joint strike action by both unions on two days 
with support of UWS student unions", said Ms Moroney.

The strike will affect over 25,000 students at UWS campuses at Bankstown, 
Werrington, Kingswood, Blacktown, Campbelltown, Parramatta and Richmond; 
and is a joint action between the NTEU and the Community and Public Sector 
Union (CPSU).

The unions are currently negotiating a new enterprise agreement with the 
university, which plans to merge the administration of its campuses by the 
end of the year.

The unions warn that pay increases offered by UWS will be hollow comfort 
for staff when they lose their jobs, or are forcibly demoted.

UWS Branch President of the CPSU, Paul Best says, "We are facing a 
situation where up to 50 per cent of general staff could see their so-
called wage increase handed back early next year, or worse, along with 
catastrophic consequences for their superannuation entitlements.

"This is unjust and totally unacceptable. We are demanding salary 
maintenance for these staff for as long as they remain in their jobs."

The 24-hour strike this Thursday follows a stopwork meeting on October 18, 
and a half-day action on November 1.

The unions have also foreshadowed a ban on the transmission of exam and end 
of year results if the dispute over restructuring and bargaining is not 
resolved.

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