Posts tagged with USYD
At the end of 2011, the Vice-Chancellor made a sudden announcement that a large number of academics were to be made redundant, or moved to “teaching-focusssed positions”, due to their failure to produce an arbitrary, retrospectively defined quantity of research publications. The damage done to staff morale was extreme. This attempt to sack or downgrade staff was subsequently shown to be not only short sighted and clumsy, but based on misleading evidence. Many threats of redundancy were withdrawn, while some academics, valorised by students and peers for their teaching and research contributions, felt so stigmatised and demeaned by this process that they took the voluntary redundancy offer, while others who were not on the original hit list took advantage of the payouts to leave the university on advantageous terms, often leaving colleagues in their departments without adequate staffing, as maintaining academic program integrity was not one of the criteria used in the “change plan” (as the Fair Work Australia ruling against the university subsequently showed). These actions demonstrated to staff across the university that senior management has little respect for academic staff. Further, it demonstrated a certain managerial incompetence, which Senate may not be aware of. While many of us object to the increasing managerialism in the running of the university, when it is accompanied by incompetence and inconsistent messages we must surely object strenuously. A final insult was being subsequently told by senior research management staff that “quality” not “quantity” was needed in our research. Those who had been threatened with redundancy on the basis of an appearance of insufficient quantity, lost any remaining shreds of respect for management at that point.
Staff from the University of Sydney tell management why job security is important not only to them, but to ensuring quality education.
A Message from Sydney University Staff
I have discussed our reasons for taking action with my students, and many of them have expressed their strong support for me and my colleagues. They realise how dedicated staff at this university are and how hard we work to provide them with quality education. They understand that degradation of our working conditions—whether those of academic staff who teach them, research and professional staff who provide intellectual and material resources for their learning, administrative staff who answer their enquiries and process their enrolments and results, or the many other staff who maintain the university’s IT, library and physical infrastructure—can only result in degradation of their experience and learning, and lower the value of their future degrees. A number of our students have attended pickets and will also no doubt be attending next Tuesday’s rally.
Here is a power point presentation and other resources including letters for both Casual and Ongoing staff, to assist in talking to students about upcoming industrial action.•
On Wednesday April 30, NTEU Members voted to take further Industrial Action on Tuesday May 14.
Members will be on Strike for 24 Hours and will be picketing the University of Sydney from 7 am.
You can download the flier below which includes information about why members elected to take strike action again. You can also view our Compare the Pair information which lays out the difference between the NTEU's vision for Sydney University and management's lack of one.•
On Monday May 06, the Sydney University Casuals Network held a Yogaction outside the meeting of the University Senate. The action highlighted what managements' claims about "flexibility" mean in reality.
- Bending Over Backwards
- Tied Up in Knots
- Finding Balance
- Management's Own Flexibility
- Table Pose - Be Your Own Office
- Heads Down in Downward Facing Dog
- Keep it All Inside in Child's Pose
- Learn to Play Dead with Savasana
- Standing on Our Heads
You can also read an article in New Matilda written by Sharni Chan, Janin Bredehoft and Claire Parfitt, three of our casual activists.
For those of you who were unable to attend the NTEU Public Lecture given by Professor Raewyn Connell at Sydney University on April 24, it is now available online.
You can read the Open Letters that sparked it all, and view the video made by Sydney Uni staff here.
"... I looked up from my research and teaching, and realized that the educational institution I’d joined so joyfully had become a severely hierarchical corporation that I hadn’t a hope of approaching in a democratic way. The style of management of our university – management defined, it seems to me, solely as the managing of systems, structures, finances and building, never people - has robbed the colleagues I’ve been proud to be amongst, colleagues chosen for their brilliant scholarship and eagerness to share it, of any hope of democratic governance, even of the courage to speak out."•