End Wage Theft at the University of Sydney
The USyd Casuals Network and the NTEU have released an interim report on wage theft at the University of Sydney, which has provided unprecedented evidence of the levels of wage theft associated with casual work.
Click here to read the report:
Casualisation at the University of Sydney is high and rising every year. This year, a record 75 percent of University staff are working on casual or fixed-term contracts. Despite management’s agreement to "seek to reduce its use of casual and sessional employment" during the life of our current Enterprise Agreement, casual contracts have risen significantly from 48 to 52 per cent in just the last three years. This is a serious issue, not only because it allows the University to rapidly lay off casual staff, but also in that it relies on systemic underpayment, as the interim report shows.
The report demonstrates that:
- 84% of participants did unpaid work in the first six weeks of semester;
- On average, for every dollar participants were paid, they were not paid 75 cents;
- Participants were underpaid on average $2521 per person, with the highest amount of underpayment totalling $11,469 for one individual;
- On average, women had 2.5 times the amount of underpayment as men;
- Participants spent six times more hours than they were paid for performing administrative tasks.
This is completely unacceptable. Casualised staff cannot continue to do unpaid work. We are therefore calling for immediate changes to casual employment, to help ensure better working conditions for staff and better learning conditions for students.
In support of the reports’ demands, we therefore demand that University of Sydney management:
- Pay back all unpaid wages:
The University must immediately move to pay back all unpaid wages to all affected casualised staff, under the guidance of NTEU members in the Casuals Network and the NTEU to determine the appropriate amount of compensation to be paid.
- Adapt casuals’ schedules of payment to end wage theft under the existing EA.
The University must immediately alter casuals’ schedules of payment to ensure that for the remainder of the life of the existing EA, casualised staff are not underpaid. To do this, the University must consult with NTEU members in the Casuals Network and the NTEU to determine how schedules of payment are to be altered (e.g. by increasing administration hours and increasing hours paid for marking, tutorial and lecture preparation).
- Conduct a full-scale audit of all casuals’ working practices at the University.
The University must immediately extend its existing audit, under the guidance of NTEU members in the Casuals Network and the NTEU, to determine the true scope of underpayment at the University amongst casualised staff.
Commit to ending wage theft in the next EA: the University must commit to enshrining appropriate rates of pay for casualised staff in the next EA so that wage theft is impossible.
- Commit to reducing casualisation.
The University must immediately commit to reducing its current dependency on a casualised workforce and provide greater employment and income security to casual staff and facilitate the conversion of all eligible staff to permanent work.
As members of the Casuals Network and the NTEU, or their supporters, we:
- Commit to building our collective capacity across the University to have our demands met, including through workplace meetings, political campaigning, and future industrial action.
University of Sydney Staff:
Dr Toby Fitch
Lucinda Nicolls Small
Sophia Davidson Gluyas
S. Jade Barclay
Natalie Maystorovich Chulio
Margaret Van Heekeren
Natalie Maystorovich Chulio
Lila San Roque
Dr. Alex Page
Dr William J Kennedy
Megan Le Masurier
William Donald Phillips
Sydney University students:
Dyana Satya Moitinho Freitas
Kevin De Jesus
Huei Ling Chen
Dr Francis Russell
Dr Madison Magladry
Dr Eva Bujalka
Dr Joe McCarthy
Dr Jessica Cadwallader
Dr Brooke Nolan
Dr. Jay Daniel Thompson
Lennita Oliveira Ruggi
Felipe Basquiroto de Souza
University of Sydney staff member
University of Sydney student
Email (Not for publication; for updates about this campaign)
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