National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members will continue their campaign for improved outcomes on job security and pay at Macquarie University, with 24 hour stoppages in each of the Faculties on separate days next week.
After more than 20 months of fruitless negotiations, NTEU members are more determined than ever to take action to achieve a satisfactory outcome.
“The issue that is standing most starkly as unresolved is that of job security,” NTEU National Assistant Secretary Matthew McGowan said today.
“Over the five years from 2005 to 2010, we have seen a steady and unnecessary increase in the use of fixed term employment, from 26% to 36% of non-casual staff. If this rate of increase continues, the university will have a majority of its staff on short term contracts in around 7 years.”
“The Union is deeply concerned that this growth in fixed term contracts is unnecessary as many of the contract positions are doing work that is ongoing and predictable. It leaves the staff involved without any security of employment, preventing them from getting home loans and planning their futures,” Mr McGowan said.
Equally important is the corrosive effect this has upon academic freedom. Staff on insecure employment are likely to feel vulnerable to attack and are unlikely to engage in public discussion without fear or favour. The management’s unwillingness to settle these matters raises serious concerns about their commitment to academic freedom.
In addition to the impasse on fixed-term contracts, the University Management has made an offer on salaries that would leave Macquarie staff on substantially lower pay than colleagues at the University of Sydney, with whom they have traditionally maintained parity. Staff at the University of Western Sydney are already paid more than Macquarie staff, and the gap will widen if Macquarie’s Management cannot be persuaded to make a better offer.
“The current Management offer does not even match the increase in the cost of living for families (4.5% according to the ABS),” NTEU Macquarie Branch President Cathy Rytmeister said today. “We understand that the Management is making much of the Macquarie Senior Lecturer salary reaching $100 000 by the middle of 2012. But they neglect to mention that University of Sydney Senior Lecturers reached this benchmark in mid-2010, and that UWS staff at the same level will have salaries just short of $100 000 by May this year.”
“Management cannot be serious if they believe that Macquarie staff will accept an offer which results in their salaries lagging 1-2 years behind those of their colleagues elsewhere in Sydney,” Ms Rytmeister added. “ This is no way for the University to demonstrate support and respect for staff, especially when our Vice-Chancellor, Steven Schwartz, is one of the highest-paid in NSW, received a bonus of $150 000 in 2009 and is this year eligible for a bonus of $300 000”.
For further information and comment:
Michael Evans, National Organiser (media enquiries) 0418 241 664
Matthew McGowan, National Assistant Secretary, 0417 054 110
Cathy Rytmeister, Macquarie University Branch President, 0438 683 867