After over 12 months of campaigning for a new workplace agreement, Monash University staff will strike on 23 October. 

Management wants to strip penalty rates from staff who work late into the night. Workers in the university sports facilities, residential services and other departments will be working until 11pm without penalty rates if management gets its way. 

While these staff are being hit with a pay cut, salaries for university management have never been higher. Monash vice-chancellor Margaret Gardner recently set a pay record, becoming the first and only female university boss in the country to earn $1 million a year. Clearly, Monash isn’t short of cash to splash around. 

Yet most teaching at the university is carried out by casual staff on conditions inferior to those of permanent workers. Many remain on short term, casual contracts for years, with no access to sick leave or annual leave. For these workers, there is no pathway to secure, ongoing work. 

Most casuals receive only 9.5 percent superannuation, while other university staff receive 17 percent. One of the demands of the upcoming strike is for all university workers to receive 17 percent superannuation.

This strike is a welcome development in our long campaign for a better agreement. But to win the pay rise and workplace conditions we deserve, we will need to continue to up the ante industrially against management.