Markela Panegyres for Branch Committee

I am a casual academic at Sydney College for the Arts (SCA), and have been an active member of the NTEU and USyd Casuals Network since 2020. Prior to this I was involved in the “Let SCA Stay” campaign of 2016-17. This was a tough campaign that opened my eyes to the necessity of strong, collective action, and the need for solidarity between students and staff in the fight against punitive management.

Recently, I have worked with my casual colleagues to campaign against wage theft, have helped organise forums on casuals’ rights, and have participated in formulating the casual clauses in our branch’s current log of claims. I am committed to our ongoing industrial action, attending all three pickets so far, and helping out with leafleting and banner painting.

I’m seeking an Ordinary Branch Committee role to work with my fellow members fighting for a democratic, inclusive university, where staff, not bureaucrats, drive the decision-making. We all have the right to secure jobs with dignity: this means an end to exploitative casualisation and overwork — and a real pay rise. This also means fighting for First Nations justice and cultural safety, and standing against all forms of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and ableism. For too long our university has not been a safe or welcoming place for all.

We have put forward a strong log of claims this bargaining round, which calls for real and enforceable targets for First Nations employment, better working conditions for both academic and professional staff, retaining staff rights to 40:40:20, gender affirmation leave, and conversion rights for casuals.

I believe that ongoing industrial action by a strong and fighting branch, that actively builds its membership, is the best way we can achieve our demands. We must escalate our action against a management whose operating surplus of 1.04 billion in 2021 came off the back of our hard — often unpaid or underpaid — work.

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 even stronger with more 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 contract but a stronger union.

Vote [1] David Brophy for Academic VP

Vote [1] Dylan Griffiths for General VP

Vote [1] Finola Laughren for Casual BC

Vote [1] to [8] for Ordinary Committee Member: [1] Markela Panegyres, [2] Dylan Griffiths, [3] Dani Cotton, [4] Cian Galea, [5] Ben Miller, [6] Luke Alexander, [7] Matte Rochford, and [8] Ben Graham

For a full how-to-vote and to find out how you can get more involved, go to

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