Melbourne students launch staff solidarity campaign
Melbourne students launch staff solidarity campaign)

One of the biggest activist meetings in nearly half a decade was last week held at the University of Melbourne, as students gear up to support staff in the National Tertiary Education Union fighting for better wages and conditions.

Nearly 100 staff and students attended the launch of the Students Support Staff Strikes campaign, which followed the largest strike demonstration on the campus in more than a decade.

The campaign is aiming to mobilise students to support staff actions against university management, which has pocketed $45 million in stolen wages as of April, according to the union.

Solidarity from students has been a key source of energy for university strike campaigns across the world recently—something we want to emulate in Melbourne.

For example, Tribune magazine reports that a key demand emanating from a student rent strike at Manchester University in the UK has been for university management to meet the demands of striking staff. Students have also been joining picket lines, occupying buildings, and leading rallies across the UK in support of the University and College Union strikes this year.

At Melbourne University, we need to be ready for attacks by university managers, who may try to create divisions between students and staff—perhaps by telling students that their education is being undermined by unnecessary staff disruptions.

However, we know that staff working conditions are our learning conditions.

“Staff aren’t just striking for themselves, we’re striking for students”, Kai Tanter, a tutor and organiser of the Insecure Workers Network at Melbourne University, told Red Flag.

We all lose out when the university is run for profit, with staff losing out on pay and working conditions while the quality of our education goes down.

The campaign launch ended with chorus of chants from students and staff, including “When workers are under attack, students stand up and fight back!”

The Melbourne University Students Support the Staff Strikes campaign meets weekly. To find out how to get involved, find us on Facebook or Instagram under “Unimelb Students for Staff Strikes”, or follow this link:

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