Our university faces unprecedented centralisation, casualisation, and attacks on academic workloads. Consultation has become a weasel word as senior managers push through change proposals that destroy departments, undermine quality teaching and generate immense surpluses. Participation in the NTEU – fighting for a strong enterprise agreement and holding the University to account under that agreement – is one of the few ways we can restore the university’s social purpose and stem the tide of tertiary corporatisation. I have nominated for Branch Committee membership so that I can encourage and support member-led initiatives.
I have been a member of the Sydney branch since I was a casual tutor in Australian Studies in 2009. As a lecturer in Writing Studies since 2011, I have supported branch activities as campus poster pest (with a staple gun and a homemade glue recipe), Branch Committee member (2014-16), police liaison for the Ross St picket (2017), and picket captain at the Parramatta Rd Footbridge (2022). In previous EB rounds I’ve argued to continue fighting for our log of claims, especially when casual rights are still to be won. More recently, I was active in the fight against the destruction of departments in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences – “FutureFASS”. Along with a small group of members, I scripted and edited a short video that received tens of thousands of views on social media, featuring NTEU members and non-members speaking back to management’s plans. These creative actions connect people and build solidarity. Once we win our demands in the current EB negotiations, such activities will be vital in growing a strong membership.
A fellow picketer recently told me that they have more collegial and inspiring conversations at union events than in their day-to-day workplaces. I, too, believe the union community can be a supportive and energising part of our working lives. While fighting for, and enforcing, a quality EBA is core work, there is more we can do. Beyond Enterprise Bargaining, the union can bring people together to discuss First Nations justice, LGBTIQ+ rights, worker struggles in other industries, and our role in fighting climate inaction. And when we democratically agree as a branch to support and act on a cause, our membership will be galvanised after seeing the impact of our action in the battle for a better world.
I’m running as a member of Rank And File Action. We’re a group of union members seeking to extend our industrial campaign in Semester Two. We believe our union could be stronger with concerted organising, recruitment, and engagement. We’re made up of academic and professional staff, ongoing and casual, and we want to see the university reflect the voices of its workers.
We’ve come out of three days of strike action with a boost in membership and lots of good press coverage. We have a real chance to make change happen at the University – but that needs our vibrant grassroots campaign to continue and grow across Semester Two. We’ll need to bring new members on board, build towards even stronger strike action, and conclude negotiations not only with a fairer EBA but a stronger union.
Vote  David Brophy for Academic VP
Vote  Dylan Griffiths for General VP
Vote  Finola Laughren for Casual BC
Vote  to  for Ordinary Committee Member:  Markela Panegyres,  Dylan Griffiths,  Dani Cotton,  Cian Galea,  Ben Miller,  Luke Alexander,  Matte Rochford, and  Ben Graham
For a full how-to-vote and to find out how you can get more involved, go to https://rafausyd.wordpress.com