University wage theft on track to exceed $382 million nationally

National Tertiary Education Union

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has called for an urgent federal parliamentary inquiry into university wage theft, which is on track to exceed $382 million nationally.

The NTEU has today released new data showing confirmed underpayments to university staff are now standing at more than $203 million in recent years.

Additionally, universities’ annual reports reveal a further $168 million has been set aside to repay workers for suspected wage theft incidents.

The union estimates there is a further $10 million across three universities which are refusing to reveal the full extent of their underpayments.

While some universities have self-reported to the Fair Work Ombudsman, others have fought tooth and nail against wage theft claims.

NTEU National President Dr Alison Barnes said university staff were rightly furious about rampant wage theft.

“Wage theft at our public universities has spiralled beyond a crisis into a national disgrace,” Dr Barnes said.

“Vice-chancellors and senior executives must be held to account for the industrial-scale wage theft that has become the shameful hallmark of Australian universities.

“This extraordinary figure is a damning indictment of the way university staff are being ripped off by their employers.

“University staff will not accept any more empty platitudes – it’s time for vice-chancellors to finally face proper scrutiny for this awful behaviour.

“Wage theft is a crime. Who has lost their job? Who is going to jail?

“We’re calling on all political parties to back an urgent parliamentary inquiry into out-of-control university wage theft.

“Australian taxpayers are being taken for a ride by unaccountable vice-chancellors and senior executives committing wage theft at proportions that would make the private sector blush.”

/Public Release.