Science Faculty Campaign
Over the last 3 months NTEU members have fought a strong, informed and collegial campaign to protect and enhance the quality of research and teaching in the Faculty of Science. The University sought to abolish 16 positions, including a significant number of professional staff positions.
A very positive outcome of this campaign is that there has been for the first time in many years broad and informed discussion about the academic affairs of the Faculty and University, real collegial discussion within and across schools, and students have been engaged into real debate about their Schools, the Faculty and the broader University. Staff standing together has meant fewer ongoing positions have been abolished - which means the livelihood of families has been saved. This cannot be underestimated.
The concerns and arguments identified by NTEU and its members are still alive and will continue to be pursued: The rationale behind the so-called financial exigency and the need for redundancies remains unanswered; a budget model which can create deficits at the whim of a senior manager remains in place; and a staff reduction (redundancy) process for which the impact remains an unknown highlights the deficiencies in thinking and planning by senior managers. The Vice-Chancellor has recognized the strength of this campaign by agreeing to deal with the issues raised at the Faculty Meeting in July – the first called by over one hundred Faculty members themselves – at a future Faculty Board meeting.
NTEU is now working with targeted staff to support them in presenting the best cases for their position to remain at Monash. NTEU will now also work with its members in Science to ensure workloads are safe and that the models that underpin safe and manageable workloads are developed fairly, collegially and lawfully.
Last week Faculty of Science staff came together for a BBQ at which we thanked the many activists who stood up during the campaign. The BBQ was well attended with over 50 participating and we hope this reflects the positive campaign experience.