The number of academics and professional staff at our universities who are in insecure work continues to skyrocket, according to new figures revealed today in university annual reports.
The reports show more than 63 percent of staff at eight universities across Victoria are in insecure work.
Universities are now required to release workforce composition figures in Victoria. Of the eight universities across the state, all except Federation University had over 60 percent of their staff in casual of fixed term contracts, two – Melbourne and Monash – were over 72 percent.
The data shows that all working people – even the most qualified in the country – are being increasingly subjected to insecure work under the Morrison Government. They often spend several months of the year without employment or knowing whether they will be re-employed.
Casual staff often spend many extra hours in unpaid work as they don’t want to compromise the quality of education their students receive. The system exploits the goodwill of staff.
The rise of insecure work in universities threatens the livelihood of staff and researchers and ballooning student staff ratios threatens the quality of higher education.
It also endangers academic freedom and inhibits the free exchange of ideas in our universities, and it undermines the educational experience available to the next generation of Australians.
Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil
“Academics in insecure work live a life of uncertainty; they are unable to plan ahead when they don’t know if they will have a job next semester or next year.
“The future of higher education is at stake at this election, we need to get rid of this Morrison Government so that we can end this crisis in insecure work.
“Scott Morrison and his Government ignore the day-to-day struggles of working people – like these academics. Morrison refuses to talk about insecure work because he has no answers, no plan and no solutions.
“We want to live in a country where working people – like academics – have jobs they can count on and fair pay rises.
Quotes attributable to NTEU Victoria Division President Nicholas Kimberley
“These figures confirm what we’re hearing every day from our members – more and more ongoing positions at universities are now being lost and teaching is being done by casual academic staff.
“It’s abhorrent that Vice-Chancellors are paid million-dollar salaries while those on the front line are being denied secure jobs with proper entitlements.
“Insecure work has a real cost for academics – it often means no access to leave entitlements, no allocated desk space on campus and a life of constant uncertainty about how long they will be employed for.
“The Morrison/Turnbull/Abbott Government has shown nothing but disdain for university staff. Their main higher education policy over the past six years has been to cut as much money from the sector as they can while refusing to address the growth in insecure work in the sector.