UQ workers announce strike for first-week of classes

The strike will be the third day of industrial action taken during the almost 600 day negotiation period.

Members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of Queensland (UQ) will strike on Wednesday next week as part of ongoing enterprise bargaining negotiations.

The strike coincides with the first week of semester at the University. It is thus far unclear how many classes will be cancelled. The Union is planning a “high-vis” action at the gates of the University’s St Lucia campus as part of the action.

The NTEU announced its decision to strike after a prolonged enterprise bargaining period of almost 600 days. The previous Enterprise Agreement between the parties expired on 30 June 2021. It will be the third day of industrial action taken by the NTEU during the negotiations.

The Union is striking over the substantial delay in reaching a new agreement, with NTEU UQ Branch President Andrew Bonnell saying “staff at UQ have been waiting 600 days for an agreement. We still don’t have an agreement around workload and job security.

“We were hoping that management would clear the decks and that we would have an agreement by the end of February and unfortunately that hasn’t been possible.”

Bonnell told Honi that the Union is seeking substantially improved conversion pathways to secure work, labelling “the exploitation of casual staff” as a “national scandal”. While UQ is currently offering conversions to fixed-term teaching intensive positions for casual staff, Bonnell told Honi that the NTEU is seeking casual conversion pathways in-line with those offered by Western Sydney University in its recently agreed Enterprise Agreement.

The Union is further seeking a final agreement on the University’s offering of gender affirmation leave to gender diverse staff.