Honi Soit has acquired a copy of the letter the USU CEO, Andrew Woodward, sent to USU retail staff on the 20th of March. In the letter, attached below, he details the best methods of breaking the picket line during the 48hr strike planned for 26th and 27th of March.
This can be interpreted to contradict the USU Board resolution to use their resources to support and aid the strike.
Some of the advice given includes “please use the City Rd Gate”, “uniformed staff are advised to not wear their uniform whilst entering the University”, and indications that staff should request the assistance of campus security if attempting to enter the campus.
Staff were also told that “if you wish to support the industrial action, you may do so, but please be advised that you will need to take this day as annual leave or leave without pay.”
The letter also used language such as “safely within the grounds”, “uncomfortable situation”, and “the above information is to help ensure your safety.”
Interestingly, the USU letter shares sentences with the letter sent to students by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, including the lines “we suggest that you stop, listen and then politely proceed to enter the campus” and “…will not threaten, intimidate or physically prevent them from entering University buildings”. Honi Soit has not confirmed whether or not the USU and University collaborated on these letters or whether it is a mere coincidence both share identical sentences.
The USU Board voted down resolutions to shut down Union outlet during strikes and give discounts/food vouchers to striking staff.
UPDATE: A representative of the USU has told Honi Soit that the letter was sent as a legal obligation of the CEO, as an employer, to his staff.