NTEU Media Release: NTEU Welcomes ACTU Secure Jobs Better Future Campaign
Today’s launch by the ACTU of a national campaign to address the growing crisis of insecure work has been welcomed by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU).
Whilst national figures indicate that 40% of the Australian workforce are employed in some form of insecure work, the situation is even more stark in higher education with recent research revealing that 60% of the academic workforce in universities is employed on a casual basis.
NTEU National President, Jeannie Rea said of the ACTU campaign, “Part of this campaign is about exploding the myths about casual and insecure work. The claim made by many employers and business leaders is that casual employment provides greater flexibility for workers and is a stepping stone to more permanent work. This is simply not borne out by the experience of our members working in the tertiary education sector.”
The recent report by the Centre for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE), The Australian Academic profession in transition by Emmaline Bexley, Richard James and Sophie Arkoudis, highlights that the future of Australian higher education is being threatened because young academics in particular are experiencing job insecurity and find themselves in uncertain financial circumstances.
“The findings from the report and the testimony given by university workers at today’s ACTU launch confirm an impending workforce crisis in higher education,” Jeannie Rea said. “The personal impact insecure work has on workers and their families, in particular, is overlooked. Far from offering ‘flexibility’ many insecure workers experience financial uncertainty and great vulnerability over many years.”
“The lack of job security and the trap of semester-by-semester employment lead many early career staff to question their long term future as academics in the sector. People who hold PhDs are finding it extremely difficult to attain permanent work in their discipline area with many ultimately leaving the sector out of sheer frustration.”
The NTEU is hopeful that the launch of the ACTU’s national campaign will place pressure on the Federal Government and universities to rethink their current short term workforce planning strategies.
“Our universities must foster and develop our academic and professional staff by providing a genuine career path and investing in the retention of quality staff.”
More information on the issues affecting academic casual staff can be found on www.unicasual.com.au
Jeannie Rea, NTEU National President, 0434 609 531
Michelle Rangott, National industrial Officer, 0409 310 304