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Sydney NTEU votes to strike

The vote to strike was near-unanimous

picture of NTEU, staff and students protesting USyd staff in the NTEU have voted for two full days of strike action.

At a meeting today, USyd staff who are part of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) voted to take strike action on August 26 (the university’s Open Day) and September 13.

Honi reported previously that in a recent ballot, 98 per cent of NTEU USyd branch members voted in support of taking industrial action. With today’s vote, members cemented the dates of the strikes.

The motion which was passed stipulated that the union would take industrial action, “unless there is acceptable progress” on “avoiding forced redundancies for staff”, “ending discrimination against casual staff in relation to leave and superannuation”, and “undermining the teaching-research nexus”.

NTEU USyd branch president Kurt Iveson told Honi, “we’ve just voted pretty overwhelmingly to take industrial action on Open Day … unless we get satisfactory progress on a few of the issues that are outstanding in bargaining.”

Iveson called the pay offer that university management put forward this morning “a real wage cut for staff” and said, “with all the work that we do and the cost of living in Sydney right now, there’s no way we’re ready to take a pay cut.”

“At the moment, we’re just getting a brick wall at the bargaining table,” Iveson said.

Co-Education Officer of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC), April Holcombe, told Honi, “I think it’s a fantastic result — basically unanimous support for strike action.”

Holcombe encouraged students to support staff in the industrial action, saying, “In terms of what students can do, they should show up on those picket lines, talking to their classmates, making announcements in lectures and tutorials, explaining what strikes are, what exactly the teachers here are striking for, and so on.”