Casual staff in the School of Social and Political Sciences (SSPS) have won back two hours of administration pay after it was axed entirely in 2020.
While the USyd Casuals Network said the move was a “significant win,” two hours of paid administration per week falls short of the four hours allocated previously. It falls even shorter of the work actually performed. Dani Cotton, member of the Casuals Network and NTEU Branch Committee Member, says the amount of administrative work performed is closer to twelve hours per week.
Administrative work lays the foundation for all teaching activities. An open letter noted that the vast amount of time spent answering emails, attending student consultations, meeting supervisors or preparing subject guides is necessary to maintaining quality education. Moreover, failure to perform such tasks would also jeopardise job security. Staff will inevitably continue to perform administrative work, even if unpaid. Cotton pointed to marking criteria coordination meetings as a particularly vital task: “It is quite shocking that marking meetings were unpaid in 2020 — this would have resulted in either stolen wages or inconsistent marking across SSPS.”
Cotton thanked the nearly one hundred signatories of the open letter for making the restoration possible, though the fight to win back stolen wages is far from over. The NTEU and Casuals Network called on University Management to restore the four hours of administration pay to SSPS and the rest of the arts faculty and is preparing a backpay claim for all unpaid administration over the past six years. Meanwhile, Enterprise Agreement negotiations continue to simmer.
If you have worked as a casual in FASS in the past six years and experienced underpayment for administration and marking, you can sign up for the NTEU and USyd Casuals Network’s underpayment claim here.