Over 50 casual academics have joined a National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) claim on Victoria’s Swinburne University for 3 hours extra pay to cover the time spent following up wages which are up to 8 weeks late.
“Many casual academics have been living off credit cards and had difficulty paying bills on time,” said Josh Cullinan, NTEU Industrial Officer at Swinburne University.”
“They have racked up interest and administration fees on overdue payments, and are failing to make rent and mortgage payments.”
“To add insult to injury they have to spend hours of unpaid time chasing down their late pay, phoning administration and payroll, replying to emails, and constantly checking finances to make sure they’re going to be paid.”
“Unlike ongoing and full-time staff, casual academics are not processed through Swinburne University’s human resources department, but are instead dealt with on an ad-hoc basis through the unit conveners and administration staff in their respective faculties.”
“The NTEU’s claim draws attention to the hardship these workers face, despite turning up to work and delivering more than half the teaching of the university.”
“The University has until 5pm Friday, May 4th to respond positively. After that, casual academics will launch a new phase of the campaign.”
“The campaign has the strong support of many full time staff.”
“Many full time staff are sick of being caught in the middle of this, signing off on endless payroll and HR documents sent at random and unexplained points in the semester to ensure the casuals employed in their units are paid at all,” said Mark Schier, a full-time lecturer in the Faculty of Business and Enterprise.
“Swinburne relies on casual academics for more than half the teaching delivery in the University, and casuals now outnumber full-time academics. It’s time the institution acknowledged these people and that they should be paid on time like everyone else.”
“I have worked at other universities as a casual teacher and Swinburne undoubtedly has the worst employment conditions,” said Maria Picyk, a casual lecturer at the institution.
“I've been working here for three years and senior management continue to treat us like rubbish and have made it abundantly clear that fixing this completely broken pay system is at the very bottom of their to-do list,” said Picyk. “It’s like we’re ghosts.”
For information and comment:
Josh Cullinan, NTEU Industrial Officer, Swinburne University: 0416 241 763