UTS and WSU staff carry out union action after USyd . 48-hour strike

Employees at two Sydney universities have taken steps towards industrial action just days after the USyd Branch of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) took part in a 48-hour strike. These are the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and Western Sydney University (WSU).

The WSU NTEU branch voted Friday to take strike action in three weeks, while NTEU members at UTS filed a protected voting order with the Fair Work Commission on Saturday. A protected action ballot is a secret ballot that allows employees to vote on whether or not to initiate protected industrial action, such as a strike.

“At both WSU and UTS, our members have been negotiating new corporate agreements for over nine months. At UTS, management has failed to meet our demands regarding job security, limits to workplace restructuring, protection from overtime and fair pay increase, so NTEU members have applied for the right to take protected industrial action.” NTEU NSW Secretary Damien Cahill said.

“While negotiations are progressing at WSU, management has made an unacceptable 2% low wage offer. [per annum] and have not agreed to any enforceable decausation provisions. NTEU members have therefore voted to take strike action,” Cahill said.

This stems from a historic 48-hour strike between the University of Sydney campuses, with staff from the traditionally conservative Conservatorium of Music (a satellite campus of USyd) joining the action for the first time.

“Last week’s 48-hour strike at the University of Sydney will likely be the first of many in the coming year if university boards across the country continue to ignore the voices of their staff,” Cahill said.

“Unbridled managerial skills affect universities, undermining staff working conditions and student working conditions. The employees have had enough and are ready to spring into action.”

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