No Pay—No Deal: Fight on to Week 6 Strikes

RAFA Bulletin #7: Editorial

Management say that strikes don’t do anything, but if this campaign has proven anything, it’s that this is simply not true.

After months campaigning and strikes, we have extracted three hard-won concessions:

  • Pay for all hours work for casual staff;
  • 5 days per year of sick pay for casual staff;
  • Extended notice period for professional staff redeployment.

But the kicker is a tricky poison offer on the 40:40:20. Management have given us an all-or-nothing ultimatum. They’ll give us 40:40:20, but only if we sign off on an academic package with a 25% EF cap! This amounts to tripling the Education Focussed workforce from 220 to 650, with only some limited protections (a right to convert after 5 years, and some workload protections). The massive expansion of education focussed roles will entrench a two-tiered system that will railroad opportunities for early career researchers. 

The package also comes with:

  • 20% decasualisation (up from 13%);
  • 330 early-career continuing academic jobs, including 110 balanced positions;

And on top of that, until we agree, they say they won’t improve the 3.3% pay offer, or bundle in the package some of our other key demands like First Nations Employment Parity, no to CET job cuts and Internal Advertising Rights for professional staff. Even worse, they refuse to say what kind of ‘improvement’ they’re prepared to make on pay.

We cannot fall into this management trap. 

We have to say: 

  • no to the latest package without a pay offer; 
  • no to the unprotected expansion of EF staff; 
  • no to separating pay, First Nations rights & general staff rights from academic rights.

We want to bargain in good faith for a whole new agreement, with all cards on the table. 

No to the package; and go ahead with the week 6 strikes. Talk to your colleagues and make week 6 a resounding success!

Why not postpone the strikes?

We haven’t really won the 40:40:20 until it’s on terms we should accept. And moreover, if we call off the strike without the wins it was designed to obtain, we take the wind out of the campaign sails and set ourselves up for saying yes to whatever pay offer management comes to us with. We have made a lot of gains, on things like leave, workload regulation, flexible work and work from home rights, and others. But the only major new wins are on sick pay, wage theft & extended notice period. This is great progress, but it’s just not sufficient for postponing a strike, harming the building we’ve already done, and de-mobilising members. For now, we need to fight on.

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