We are holding a BBQ for NTEU Members on Monday, May 27 from 12:30-2:00.
Come along and have lunch with your colleagues, friends and comrades and let's celebrate our successes and share our stories and experiences from the campaign so far.
NTEU Members’ BBQ
Where: Roof Top BBQ above the Squash Courts
When: Monday, May 27
At the end of 2011, the Vice-Chancellor made a sudden announcement that a large number of academics were to be made redundant, or moved to “teaching-focusssed positions”, due to their failure to produce an arbitrary, retrospectively defined quantity of research publications. The damage done to staff morale was extreme. This attempt to sack or downgrade staff was subsequently shown to be not only short sighted and clumsy, but based on misleading evidence. Many threats of redundancy were withdrawn, while some academics, valorised by students and peers for their teaching and research contributions, felt so stigmatised and demeaned by this process that they took the voluntary redundancy offer, while others who were not on the original hit list took advantage of the payouts to leave the university on advantageous terms, often leaving colleagues in their departments without adequate staffing, as maintaining academic program integrity was not one of the criteria used in the “change plan” (as the Fair Work Australia ruling against the university subsequently showed). These actions demonstrated to staff across the university that senior management has little respect for academic staff. Further, it demonstrated a certain managerial incompetence, which Senate may not be aware of. While many of us object to the increasing managerialism in the running of the university, when it is accompanied by incompetence and inconsistent messages we must surely object strenuously. A final insult was being subsequently told by senior research management staff that “quality” not “quantity” was needed in our research. Those who had been threatened with redundancy on the basis of an appearance of insufficient quantity, lost any remaining shreds of respect for management at that point.
Staff from the University of Sydney tell management why job security is important not only to them, but to ensuring quality education.
"... I looked up from my research and teaching, and realized that the educational institution I’d joined so joyfully had become a severely hierarchical corporation that I hadn’t a hope of approaching in a democratic way. The style of management of our university – management defined, it seems to me, solely as the managing of systems, structures, finances and building, never people - has robbed the colleagues I’ve been proud to be amongst, colleagues chosen for their brilliant scholarship and eagerness to share it, of any hope of democratic governance, even of the courage to speak out."
Here is Kurt Iveson talking about casualiation and why the NTEU's academic workforce claims in the current round of Enterprise Bargaining are so important. He talks about how those claims will address the explosion of precarious and casual teaching in the University and invest in the next generations of academics. High quality education relies on high quality working conditions for staff.
SCU members are invited to attend a general meeting to discuss and vote on the NTEU log of claims for the next round of Enterprise Bargaining for a new Agreement....
"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