University of Melbourne staff to strike for up to seven days

National Tertiary Education Union

National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at the University of Melbourne will launch major industrial action including seven-day strikes across multiple faculties and work areas and a half-day stoppage across the institution.

Members voted to take action after representatives of Vice Chancellor Duncan Maskell refused to engage with the union’s reasonable claims around secure jobs and a fair pay rise.

All NTEU members will stop work from midday on Monday.

Members who work in the Faculty of Arts, Melbourne Law School, the VCA School of Art, student services, stagecraft and the library will start five to seven day strike action from Monday.

The vice chancellor’s team at the University of Melbourne has also refused to engage with the NTEU’s claims around workloads, flexible working arrangements and limiting restructures.

NTEU National President Dr Alison Barnes said:

“The University of Melbourne has engaged in industrial scale wage theft, giving it the shameful title of Australia’s worst underpayment university.

“Even after repaying $45 million in lost wages, university management is trying to deny staff the fair pay increase they deserve.

“Universities need to abandon approaches like Melbourne’s to enterprise bargaining. It’s seriously out of touch with the universities accord which is rightly pushing institutions to become exemplary employers.”

NTEU Victorian Division Secretary Sarah Roberts said:

“People will be shocked to know how little respect one of Australia’s wealthiest universities is showing to its most precious asset – the staff.

“Industrial action at Melbourne and most of the other Victorian universities during open days show you progress on bargaining is way behind where it should be.

“It’s time for common sense to prevail – return to the negotiating table and make some progress.”

NTEU University of Melbourne Branch President David Gonzalez said:

“The vice-chancellor must stop letting his recalcitrant executives call the shots.

“Senior management has proven they’re not willing to engage constructively with our reasonable claims so Professor Maskell needs to take charge.

“For this negotiation to be making little progress after a year tells you everything you need to know about the way management has behaved.

“Staff don’t take any strike action lightly, especially not for an entire working week. We have been left with no choice.”

/Public Release.