Petition is successful with 2,839 signatures
To: University Vice Chancellors and Deans
Guarantee casual uni staff sick pay and leave!
This campaign has ended.
If you are university staff member, student or a parent, sign the petition to call on our millionaire Vice Chancellors to guarantee casual uni staff sick pay and paid leave now!
Why is this important?
The possibility of university-wide shutdowns in response to the COVID-19 virus is a terrifying one for casual and insecure workers who have no sick pay or leave entitlements. In Australian public universities, more than half of all teaching at our universities is delivered by casual staff, we are not marginal we are the backbone of the sector. This means that in the event of a shutdown, thousands of university staff are facing the loss of income they rely on to pay the bills and keep food on the table or even job losses. Casual workers who become sick in the coming weeks and months will have to decide whether they can afford to self-isolate or quarantine. This is both unconscionable and dangerous.
The responsibility for this disastrous situation lies squarely on the shoulders of university managements who have responded to declining public funding by building an insecure workforce – all while enjoying some of the highest salaries in the world for university executives. So far, only Macquarie University has guaranteed access to sick pay and leave for casual staff in the event of self-isolation or shutdown. This is a welcome decision and we call on all other universities to follow their example.
Currently, universities remain open for business, but the COVID-19 travel bans and public health crisis have given spendthrift universities across Australia an excuse to cut jobs. Frontline teaching staff have already lost work and more job losses are threatened. At the same time, staff workloads have intensified as student support needs have escalated. Despite the number of unknowns facing Australian universities, one thing is certain: domestic and international students will need more support – not less – because of the disruption caused by COVID-19. A well-staffed university workforce is fundamental if we are to meet the needs of students during this public health crisis.
Casual staff must not pay the price for the COVID-19 outbreak. We are not a ‘soft expense’ to be cut when convenient, nor should we have to choose between our health, the health of our students and colleagues, and putting food on the table.
By March 18 all universities must guarantee:
· Casual staff continue to be paid if they are required to self-isolate. This is a basic requirement to secure the welfare of casual staff and ensure the safety of the university community.
· Casual staff continue to be paid in the event of university shutdowns, even if they are unable to work from home. Casual staff perform work in teaching and research that is core to the mission of universities. Retention and support of casual staff must be a university priority.
· Stop job cuts and austerity measures. Universities need more – not less – frontline staff to support and retain students through this difficult time.
Endorsed by: NTEU UniMelb Casuals Network, NTEU ANU Casuals Committee, NTEU UoN Casuals Collective, NTEU UQ Casuals Caucus