The elections for Staff Fellows of Senate open today. The NTEU believes it is important to support staff elected Fellows of Senate who have a good understanding of the issues facing University staff and the direction of the University. We are urging staff to vote for the following active, prominent NTEU members.
It is critically important that we have advocates for staff, the University and higher education as our representatives on the Senate.
"For me a central question that we all at this university need to answer, in a way that is persuasive to a reasonable proportion of those working at the coal-face, is: what does it mean to be a university, and not a brewery? What kinds of relationships and lines of communication should we have, especially horizontally, but also vertically? What does it actually mean for managers to ‘respect’ the staff they manage, what rules should they be abiding by? There are many people in senior management positions at this University who are acutely aware of the importance of these questions, and have arrived at a considered approach to how they should be answered. In my view these are the ‘best practice’ managers at the University. This round of Enterprise Agreement negotiations, including the industrial action, will have achieved an enormously positive effect if it generates an impetus towards not only answering these questions, but developing the policies, practices and institutional forms that give those answers a firm shape in the real world of university•
The Enterprise Bargaining Campaign at Sydney University and the Industrial Action that members took in March has made the Times Higher Education Supplement this week.
Nick Reimer from the Branch Committee is quoted in the article talking about the campaign. "Describing the agreement as “an unapologetic charter for a new era of managerial radicalism”, [Reimer] said that the dispute was not principally about pay and conditions but rather “core intellectual and educational values”. It had “taken on the contours of an all-out ideological battle between different visions of the university and its relation to other parts of society, particularly the economy.”
Raewyn Connell's open letter is also
Many of you will have read Professor Raewyn Connell's powerful letter to Dr Michael Spence the Vice Chancellor at the University of Sydney, or will have seen the video made by Sydney University Staff. Together these are an eloquent call for a more collegial approach to running our institutions of Higher Education and a reminder of the critical place these institutions have in Australian society and so the necessity to protect them.
Professor Connell will be presenting a lecture entitled "Love, Fear, and Learning in the Market University" on Wednesday April 24 at 6:30 in the Eastern Avenue Auditorium at the University of Sydney.
We encourage everyone to attend.
"The history of reason speaks to its continual power to generate life that is creative rather than deadening, joyous rather than fearful, critical rather than obedient. It provides us with a keen understanding of how reason may be perverted in the name of an instrumentalised model of thought and action. For example: recently we were told by senior research and management staff that what was needed NOW was “quality” not “quantity”. This comes within months of all academic members of staff being threatened with redundancy if they did not meet an arbitraryand retrospective quantity of research, with little or no consideration of quality. This kind of double talk, unaccountable capricious rhetoric to which we are ceaselessly subjected, makes me feel that I am a minor player in a very badly scripted absurdist play, perhaps Ionesco. It also creates fear, not conducive to thought and good health."•
"I will be participating in next week’s strike despite the financial challenge it presents to me as an HEO7 with rent to pay -- after all these years of working, I’m one of many who still looks longingly at the prospect of buying my own place as it recedes into the middle distance. It’s sobering to know that next week I’ll be volunteering to forfeit 40% of my wage, and that across the University, many staff earning far less than me will be doing the same. While I stand by my commitment to the NTEU, and to the principle of collective bargaining as a means of redressing the inevitable power imbalance in negotiating contracts between an individual and a massive institution such as ours, I have to say that I’m wary, uncertain and frightened about my future. I can assure you that I don’t take my decision to strike lightly."•
"Rather than taking pride in what we’ve accomplished together, the management has tried to embarrass us by cherry picking some of our conditions like sick leave in their statements to the media. Managment representatives have also neglected to discuss or even acknowledge the host of other basic conditions they are trying to roll back, like the right to be represented by our unions in negotiations, the right to be consulted in a change management process – also sound organisational practice – and the right to have our job reclassified if our responsibilities and workload substantially exceed our original terms of employment. It is indicative of the management’s attitude to staff that in their silence on these issues they have not fairly represented what is at stake in this dispute."•
"To management, this looks like flexibility. To many of my younger colleagues, it looks like a life of precarious labour, scrabbling for short-term, part-time and totally insecure appointments. These are poor conditions for building an intellectual workforce. From an educational point of view, it means a mass of teaching done by staff who can’t build up the experience, depth of knowledge, or confident relationship with students that are needed for the very best teaching."•
1. Why is the strike taking place?
The NTEU website below contains information on why members are taking industrial action.
Further information, and resources for your use, can be found at:
2. When is the strike?
Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 March 2013
3. Who is taking part in the strike?
Members of the NTEU and CPSU, students, Unions NSW and other unions, community organisations and politicians will take part in the strike.
4. Do I stay home on strike day?
No, the strike is not a “day off”, it is an important opportunity to show management that University staff are united in our fight for an enterprise agreement that is fair for staff, students and the University community.
5. What should I do on 26 and 27 March?
Come to the main campus and join us at the City Road entrance at Eastern Avenue.
Pickets will commence from 7am and run through the day. Look for the picket co-ordinator in the yellow vest if you have any questions or require assistance.
6. What is the picket?
The picket line is the physical sign of support for the Union, staff and their conditions, students and the quality of their education. The purpose of the pickets is to inform staff, students, passers-by and visitors of the existence of an industrial dispute. Picketers will seek to persuade staff, students and visitors that they should not cross the picket line. At our 7 March strike this was very successful with many drivers, staff and students turning around and not entering the University. It also resulted in people joining the pickets.
In all cases, picketers should act in a peaceful and orderly manner. More information can be found in the Picket Line Protocol at http://www.nteu.org.au/sydney.•