The 1st of September will see staff at UQ strike for 24 hours, in protest of the administration’s ongoing refusal to come to the table on fair wage increases. This will also mark the beginning of what members are describing as “Strike-tember”.
UQ staff are seeking a 15% increase over the life of the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) or – if higher – an increase in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) + 1.5%. UQ has offered an increase of 2%, which falls well below forecast headline inflation levels of 7%.
Staff have also demanded safer working conditions, better casual conversion processes, and no forced redundancies, among other concessions. Reportedly, however, UQ Provost Aidan Byrne and the infamous Vice Chancellor Deb Terry have not attended a meeting in months, despite requesting that VC Terry exclusively chair meetings (ordinarily parties alternate).
For NTEU members, these tactics will have come as no surprise – when last year the EBA expired, UQ admin claimed COVID meant negotiations would need to be pushed back. In reality, the ball has been sitting idle in UQ’s court for an unquestionably long period of time. Doubtless, however, UQ will cry foul play.
As students and unionists concerned with the quality of our education and our comrades’ livelihoods, we must stand in solidarity with the striking staff members, on the 1st of September, through the month, and indefinitely, for as long as it takes.
The mild inconvenience of missing some classes pales in comparison to the otherwise lost opportunity for an education worth having. Our university would not exist without its staff, and so we must stand with them in their fight for a livable wage.
VC Deb Terry takes $1.2 million/year, and last year received a $200k “pandemic pay rise”. This struggle is thus against the governing class of UQ, a contemptable bunch who take workers’ (our tutors’, professors’ etc.) labour for granted. The actions staff will take are therefore designed to reinforce the value of that labour.
Some actions UQ Staff may elect to take during “Strike-tember” may include: work stoppages, between 5mins and 24hrs, or indefinitely; and self-bans on participation in UQ events, online systems, staff appraisal processes, attending workplace meetings, answering phone calls, & responding to emails.
If your education matters to you, and if you care about your teachers’ livelihoods, join the picket on 1 Sep from 7:30am till 10am.