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Staff vote to strike again

Max Chalmers reports on developments in the industrial dispute between USYD staff and management

Photo: Stella Ktenas
Photo: Stella Ktenas
Photo: Stella Ktenas

The National Tertiary Education Union has voted to endorse two days of strike action. The NTEU voted for two separate strike days, the first on May 14 (Week 10), and the second on June 5 (Week 13). The first strike will coincide with a national student strike protesting Labor’s cuts to tertiary education.

The decision comes as negotiations relating to key sections of the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) continue to drag on. The Union says disagreements over leave entitlements, a domestic violence clause, academic workloads, consultation, rates of casualisation, and workers compensation are not progressing fast enough.

NTEU Sydney Branch President Michael Thomson said the strikes would only be called off if the University signed a Heads of Agreement document (outlining the main issues needing to be resolved before the new EBA can be signed) and committed to finalising negotiations in thirty days.

But University management are digging in. Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Stephen Garton last week cautioned that both the NTEU and the University generally needed to take Labor’s proposed cuts to tertiary education into account while bargaining.

“If we don’t make a responsible decision about pay and conditions then the consequences will be serious,” he said.

It appears that – for the time being – University management are not prepared to sign the Heads of Agreement or sign on to the thirty day time frame.

Spokesperson Andrew Potter said the University does not normally respond to demands and that further strikes would disadvantage students.


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