University of Newcastle academic staff have not ruled out taking further industrial action after a day-long stoppage on Monday.
About 150 National Tertiary Education Union members and their supporters gathered outside NewSpace to protest at the university’s approach to negotiating a new enterprise agreement.
In particular, they are fighting against the university’s attempts to change established and comprehensive provisions in the existing agreement.
National Tertiary Education Union Newcastle president Tom Griffiths said many students had expressed their support for the strike.
“Students understand why we are taking this action. They understand that good conditions for the staff equate for good conditions for their learning. The student organisations are here in support of us today,” he said.
Mr Griffiths said further industrial action was a possibility if the talks were not successful.
“We are having another enterprise bargaining meeting tomorrow where we would love to resolve the outstanding issues but if not there are a range of industrial options available and we will go back to our members and talk to them about what we will do next,” he said.
Casual academic Liz Adamczyk said well there was a direct link between teaching resources and student learning outcomes.
“You can see it in your own teaching and what you are afforded in terms of resourcing,” she said.
“It (resourcing) is getting less and less so students are paying more and more. You can see there is far less face to face interaction. It’s the flow on effects of giving staff what they need and not overburdening them so they can teach students.”
A university spokeswoman said it was disappointing that NTEU members had chosen to take industrial action.
“Based on recent actions, we expect fewer than 150 NTEU members to participate. The University of Newcastle employs around 6,500 academic and professional staff,” she said.
“With only a small number of enterprise agreement matters to be resolved, we continue to encourage the NTEU bargaining representatives to work with us at the bargaining table rather than causing more disruption for our students.”
“We believe the proposed agreements will ensure that the university continues to provide benefits and conditions that are nationally competitive within the sector and amongst the best in the region. We are very keen to activate the new conditions, including the first of four 1.9 per cent salary increases, without further delay.”
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