University Employment Shouldnâ€™t Be A Casual Affair
NTEU has launched a campaign to have casual academics converted to permanent employment at campuses across the country.
The campaign was launched at a well-attended forum held at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) on the issues around casual and sessional employment. Also launched was NTEU’s updated Smart Casuals booklet, detailing employment conditions and handy information for casual and sessional employees.
“Insecure employment threatens the future of our tertiary education sector. The growth in this employment has grown over 130% in the past 2 decades. In 1991, there were 7,475 casual/sessional staff in the sector. Today there are over 17,400,” Matthew McGowan, NTEU National Assistant Secretary, said.
“Both the Federal Government and universities themselves need to step up to the plate. The over reliance of casual labour has been driven by underfunding of the sector over the past 20 years. The Government needs to invest in Australia’s future by investing in the health of our tertiary education sector,” said Mr McGowan.
The NTEU will use new ‘casual conversion’ clauses – incorporated into industrial agreements at almost every campus nationally over the past 2 years – to drive the campaign.
“This goes beyond the individual workplace rights of staff to the broader issue of quality of tertiary education and research in Australia,” Mr McGowan said.
“Many students will go through their first year of study without any serious interactions with a full time academic staff member.”
“The sad reality is that casual and sessional staff often don’t have the sort of time to give students that they really need. These staff are living hand to mouth. They cannot apply for loans, and they cannot plan a life. How can you support a family on a casual wage?”
“The union has spent the past 2 years negotiating agreements that provide improved payments, conversion mechanisms, and Early Career Development Fellowships. It is now time to require Universities to meet their obligations.”
“From today, the NTEU will be in campuses across the country, establishing who among our casual members are eligible to become permanent, and then taking the necessary steps to make that happen.”
A report on the launch was included on ABC Radio’s PM program yesterday. Listen to the PM report here.