A meeting of more than 100 National Tertiary Education Union members at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has unanimously voted for a 24-hour strike on 19 October. The vote was taken during a stop-work meeting and rally to demand that management accept the union’s bargaining claims.
After five months of negotiations, management is yet to concede on key demands, including an increase in scholarly teaching fellows, job security, sick leave and superannuation entitlements for casual staff and a real wage rise for all staff. The university also wants to make it harder for staff to access sick leave, accusing workers of “rorting” their sick leave entitlements.
UTS has built entire marketing strategies around its claims to be for social justice and equality. However, around three-quarters of UTS staff don’t have secure and permanent employment, and we are among the lowest paid in the sector. Last year the vice-chancellor took home a salary package worth nearly $1 million. In 2016, UTS also spent more than $1 billion on constructing a new building complex, proving there’s money in the coffers.
The vote for strike action is a positive step in the context of several years of restructures and job cuts. It is a step towards winning the respect and security that we deserve.