USyd Vice-Chancellor Mark Scott emailed staff earlier today to announce a 2.1 per cent pay increase to take effect in July. University management described the increase as an interim measure amidst prolonged Enterprise Bargaining negotiations.
The pay increase represents an extension of the terms of the previous EBA and will be accompanied by a one-off $1000 payment.
According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, inflation was at 5.1% as of March 2022. This, along with substantial increases to the price of rent and petrol prices, means that the proposed pay rise represents a real decrease in many staff’s wages.
The announcement follows the recent revelation of a $1 billion surplus at the University of Sydney in 2021.
USyd staff have voiced criticism of the pay adjustment, with USyd NTEU Branch President Nick Riemer telling Honi: “Management will have to do a lot better than that if they don’t want staff to go backwards. The VC’s announcement follows three days of industrial action over the past few weeks. NTEU members are determined to continue their Enterprise Bargaining campaign.
“The University’s surplus shows that management have no excuse for refusing our proposals – not just on pay, but on all the other areas where we have realistic and carefully developed ideas about how to fix the serious problems this institution has,” said Riemer.
USyd NTEU Branch casual representative Dani Cotton explained: “the simplest way I can tell you I need a pay rise is that my laptop has crashed twice while writing out this message, and that I need to be able to afford to buy a new one.
“$1000 will be very welcome for casuals struggling to meet the cost of living, but the reality is it won’t compensate many casuals for the wage theft they’ve experienced,” she added.
The NTEU’s log of claims calls for a 15 per cent pay rise over 3.5 years, along with measures to address job security and protect paid research time.