UTAS academics, staff strike

National Tertiary Education Union members at the University of Tasmania have gone on strike to protest the extended negotiations for a new collective agreement.
An NTEU spokesperson said the 30-minute strike went well at the Sandy Bay Campus.
“After six months of negotiations, NTEU members are angry that UTAS management has not moved on our key claims around job security and fair working conditions to apply equally for all university staff,” said NTEU Tasmanian president Dr Kelvin Michael.
Michael said members across the state have strongly supported the industrial action through a formal ballot.
“While there has been some movement during the negotiatio7ns, management has refused to agree to reasonable limits on the use of casual and fixed- term appointments,” he said.
“They will not accept that staff currently performing well in these positions should have the right to convert to on-going employment if the job continues beyond the contract.”
Michael said that in some parts of the university, casual academic staff was teaching most of the undergraduate programs, in some cases not knowing if they will have employment until the semester commences.
“This insecurity can affect the quality of the teaching and means many casual academics have to prepare for class in their own time,” he said.
“Academic staff does not have defined hours of work, and most report excessive workloads with huge teaching loads and increasing administrative demands. UTAS management wants to remove their only protection, the workload guidelines in the current agreement.”
NTEU Tasmania secretary, Dr John Kenny said, “Academics are expected to teach, research and perform administrative duties, so there must be a way to limit the teaching and administrative demands if they are to also undertake their research.”
Kenny said, “It’s just not good enough for UTAS to treat its staff so poorly when most work far above the expectations and pay levels of their roles.” 

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