University staff representatives today voted for a national day of action at Australia’s 38 public universities in protest at the federal government’s funding restrictions for the higher education.

The national day of action will take place on October 16 after the vote by more than 200 representatives today at the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) annual council meeting in Melbourne today.

The vote came in protest against the federal government’s threat last week to deny universities more than $400 million in public funding unless they complied with radical new industrial relations requirements. The rules would force universities to offer individual contacts which override existing conditions, allow more casual employment, and restrict the collective bargaining rights of employees and their union representatives.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said today’s vote demonstrated the need for a fresh approach to industrial relations from new Federal Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews.

“Mr Andrews should correct the extremist policies of his predecessor Tony Abbott to avert a crisis in our universities,” Ms Burrow said.

“Mr Andrews should withdraw the government’s university proposals to allow our tertiary education institutions to focus on the real needs of maintaining and improving quality learning, teaching and research.”