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Vol. 7 No. 2 July 2014

THE MAGAZINE FOR AUSTRALIAN CASUAL AND SESSIONAL ACADEMIC STAFF

please

TAK E O UR S URV E Y ON

ONLI N E TE A

C HI NG

The Federal Budget and precarious employment: how does it affect you? Research Training Scheme: Fees for degrees Pyne’s vision for higher ed: What does it mean for casualisation of academic work? University work becoming more precarious Why I’m A Member Karin Stokes Things I wish I’d known about alt-ac The Research Whisperer Do casual staff belong on campus? CASA Precarious Academic Labour Campaigns: News from Abroad

Nation Insecural e Work Confere nce Hobart, Tasman ia Novembe r 20

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unicasual.org.au/insecurework2014

read online at www.unicasual.org.au ISSN 1836-8522 (Print)/ISSN 1836-8530 (Online)


-INSIDE1

The Federal Budget and precarious employment

2

Postgrads shocked by Budget cuts

3

Scholarly Teaching Fellows

4

National Insecure Work Conference in November

7

Pyne’s vision for higher ed in Australia: What does it mean for casualisation of academic work?

8

University work becoming more precarious

10 The Budget and You 12 Why I’m A Member: Karin Stokes

A degree shouldn’t cost a mortgage

14 Things I wish I’d known about alt-ac

5

Research Training Scheme: Fees for degrees

16 Do casual staff belong on campus?

6

NTEU Expert Seminar: Casualisation –global and Australian trends

18 Precarious Academic Labour Campaigns: News from Abroad

Connect is a publication of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA). All Rights Reserved © 2014. ISSN 1836-8522 (Print)/ISSN 1836-8530 (Online)

Editor: Jeannie Rea Production: Paul Clifton Editorial Assistance: Anastasia Kotaidis Cover image: Andrew Li For information on Connect, please contact the NTEU National Office: Post: PO Box 1323, South Melbourne VIC 3205 Phone: 03 9254 1910 Fax: 03 9254 1915 Email: national@nteu.org.au Web: www.unicasual.org.au www.nteu.org.au www.capa.edu.au The views expressed in this publication are those of the individual authors, and not necessarily the official views of NTEU or CAPA.

In accordance with NTEU and CAPA policy to reduce our impact on the natural environment, this magazine is printed on 100% recycled paper: produced from 65% post-consumer waste and 35% pre-consumer waste.


The Federal Budget and precarious employment

A few days after the Abbott Government’s Federal Budget was revealed with its devastating program of cuts to health, education, social and income security, I was speaking at a conference of university managers about precarious employment, productivity and performance. I spoke to the latest employment data from the Department of Education which reveals that three out of four new jobs in universities since 2005 have been contract or casual (see report on p. 8 of this edition of Connect). While some expressions of interest registered across the faces of my audience, I gained their full attention with two comments. The first was when I told them that there was no way that they would get away with over half of university teaching being done by academics employed for a few hours a week if the Budget changes get through the Senate. How were universities going to justify their vastly greater fees as they pass the Government’s 20 per cent funding cut and their own fee rises onto students. Students were going to demand more. But there is no commitment from universities to convert academic casual work to ongoing positions. There is little commitment to developing the future academic workforce or supporting the integrity of academic disciplines and the professions. Most universities have strongly resisted the NTEU’s bargaining claim for early career positions. That we are still within reach of our target of 1000 Scholarly Teaching Fellows (STFs) is testimony to the tenacity of our negotiators and campus based collective bargaining campaigns (see p. 3). There has been no indication in the weeks since the Budget that any university managements have any intention of using increased fee revenue to fund teaching and student support. Indeed those universities who hope for a fee income windfall have already mumbled that they would be spending the money on supporting research so they could keep their marketing edge by competing on rankings, which are determined on research outcomes. (We will wait and see whether this may mean that some of the 80 per cent of research-only staff on fixed term contracts may be converted to more secure employment.) Other universities face losing students who just cannot face paying back the massively increased HELP debt. They will also be undermined by profit motivated private providers armed with government subsidies (CSPs) cherry picking and offering cheap options. None of this bodes well for increasing employment security for casual academics. So while I warned the managers that they wouldn’t get away with such extensive casualised teaching, I have no doubt they will still try – to the detriment of students and staff and the integrity of our public university system.

The attractiveness of an academic career is also further diminished as many students will decide to not even bother with postgraduate research studies if they have to pay up to $3,900 per year towards a Research Training Scheme (RTS) funded place. Another of the Budget announcements was to cut 10 per cent out of the RTS (see p. 5). Some universities may try to absorb this, but most will pass it onto students who will have to add this debt to their accumulating undergraduate debt with the new market interest rate. This will apply to current students unless it is defeated in the Senate. Minister of Education Christopher Pyne justifies deregulating fees and cutting funding to public universities while subsidising private providers because he admires the American system. The gross education division by wealth in the US system along with sloppy regulation and out of control student debt does not make it a system to copy (see p. 7). American Nobel Laureate, economist Professor Joseph Stiglitz pronounced in a recent speech at ANU, ‘Countries that imitate the American model are kidding themselves. It seems some people here would like to emulate the American model. I don’t fully understand the logic’. He said that Australia had an education ‘system that is a model for the rest of the world’ (The Age, 3 July 2014). For more on the effect of the Federal Budget on casuals and the NTEU campaign, see pp. 4 and 10, and visit our campaign website at www.nteu.org.au/degreemortgage. This brings me to the second comment that captured the attention of the university managers. I gave them another reason why they should not blithely assume they could continue to get away with the gross exploitation of casually employed academics. I let them know that there had been a tweet-up that morning connecting Australian and American academic casuals. The prospect of international solidarity and action is powerful. We may have different histories and systems, but the experiences of casual academic employment have much in common. The NTEU is currently surveying Australian casual and fixed term contract academics about their experiences teaching partially or fully online. We want to know about your experiences and compare them with those overseas (see p. 18). All the best for the next teaching session. Remember, connect with other casual academics face-to-face and online. Call on your more securely employed colleagues to back you up. Contact your local NTEU Branch for support. jrea@nteu.org.au

Jeannie Rea, NTEU National President

read online at www.unicasual.org.au

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Postgrads shocked by Budget cuts Hello Casuals and Postgrads. As we enter Semester Two, the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) is actively responding to the Federal Budget with a national campaign that targets the Senate as well as universities – and we would love to see you get involved. A number of decisions made in the 2014-15 Federal Budget will have a profound effect on the postgraduate and casual community. The response by CAPA to the Federal Budget focused on a range of issues including the equity ‘grants’ that students will foot the bill for themselves, as well as the 6 per cent interest rate which will slam students who continue on to postgraduate study, pricing them out of HELP repayment for several years as their debt grows. But it is the cut of $173 million to the Research Training Scheme (see p. 5), and the decision to allow universities to charge PhD and Masters by Research students HELP fees for the first time, that has rocked the postgraduate community the most. Following the shock announcement of fees on PhDs and Masters by Research – previously covered for the majority of domestic students by the Research Training Scheme – CAPA’s website temporarily crashed under the weight of traffic from panicked students seeking information that went unreported elsewhere. Our media release on the subject has reached over 30,000 people and was shared more than 150 times on Facebook alone. This is an issue that has struck close to the heart of the postgraduate community and it was clear from the moment the budget was announced that our members were seeking action. One of the most important aspects of this change, which has been largely overlooked by the mainstream media and by students alike, is that fees of up to $3,900 per year can be charged to ALL research students from 1 January 2016, regardless of when the student enrolled. That is, if you are like me, and started a part-time PhD in 2012 – with the understanding that your PhD would be fully supported by the Government – you could still be charged fees from 2016. Claims that the only budget change to affect current higher education students will be the interest rate of up to 6 per cent must be challenged, and the true impact on postgraduate research students brought to a head. CAPA has started a petition calling on the incoming Senate to reject the introduction of fees on research degrees. We have also sent a series of posters and stickers to each of our affiliate campuses highlighting the impact these fees will have on PhD students – in particular those from diverse equity backgrounds – so keep an eye out for these during orientation. On 1 July, we wrote to each member of the new Senate, spelling out the impact of a fee on PhDs and calling on them to vote against this change. We’ve been thrilled by the response so far and are gratified to see the higher education sector playing such a large role in the national policy debate. Next we will be writing to each and every university to ask whether they will exercise their ability to charge fees on PhDs should the new policy succeed in the Senate. Also in Semester Two we will be embarking upon our annual Roadshow, where we reach out to campuses across Australia, undertaking a series of visits and events in each of our five regions. Additionally, we are planning a series of visits to campuses across the Northern Territory and Queensland, where CAPA is currently largely under-represented – if you are a postgrad, or work with postgrads, at one of these campuses we would love to hear from you. Finally, we’re excitedly preparing for our Annual Council Meeting, which will take place this year at the Australian National University (Canberra) in the final week of November. This year we celebrate CAPA’s 35th anniversary and we anticipate that the conference, including our gala dinner, will truly be an event to remember. This is my final Connect editorial as CAPA President – I reach the end of my term limit on 31 December, and so the time has finally come for me to hand over the reins and to embark on new journeys. It’s been a hectic and inspiring two-and-a-bit years, full of opportunities and challenges that I could never have expected. I’m excited for what the future holds for CAPA and am looking forward to watching on throughout another thirty-five years of advocacy on behalf of postgraduates. I know that whatever comes next, the higher education sector and I will never be far apart. Meghan B Hopper is the President of CAPA and a PhD student at Monash University. president@capa.edu.au M @CAPAPresident You can read all about CAPA’s campaign and get involved via our special CAPA Budget Response website: www.capa.edu.au/newfee

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Connect // Volume 7, no. 2

Semester 2, 2014

Meghan Hopper CAPA President


Scholarly Teaching Fellows

Are you a Casual or Sessional Academic teaching online? plea se

TA KE O UR SU RV E Y ON

By Susan Kenna Industrial Officer

ONLI N E TEA

Despite opposition at several institutions, NTEU has achieved solid outcomes from our claim to replace casual work with on-going Scholarly Teaching Fellow (STF) positions via bargaining.

C HING

The University of Sydney has the best example of an STF clause achieved in the current round of bargaining. The University will create 80 continuing positions by 1 July 2016 and these staff will perform work which would ‘otherwise have been undertaken by casual staff”. There is a ban on STFs performing the teaching work of a position which has been made redundant in the previous 12 months and positions will be filled via a competitive, merit based selection process. A minimum of 20% of workload will be reserved for research and scholarship. NTEU expects to achieve 900- 1,000 positions from our STF claim via this round of bargaining. Given the concept was new and somewhat complex as we set out to bargain in 2012, we can claim some success with this provision. Only two institutions – Queensland University of Technology and the University of New England – have so far failed to agree to an STF clause (or equivalent provision to convert casual work). At institutions such as Melbourne University, STF negotiations were protracted with the University refusing to put a target number in the Agreement. Instead arrangements for teaching fellows will be included in an MOU between the parties. Key features of the clauses achieved so far include: • The majority provide for continuing work (with some allowing for conversion after a period of fixed term employment). • The majority have a salary scale of Level A-B (with many starting at A6 and progressing to B2). • Most provide for promotion. • Most provide maximum teaching loads to provide time for scholarship and research. The table at right represents outcomes from the STF claim this round, in 22 of the Agreements which were settled to mid-June 2014. This can be compared with the corresponding figure on casual employment at each institution in the year that the bargaining round commenced.

We want to hear your STFs Casuals Fixed-term or Continuing (2012) experiences &Continuing your views ACU 12 314 Agreement

1

CDU Are

42 or sessional Fixed-term,academic may convert after 2nd you a8 casual working contract in Australian higher education? Do you CSU 14 any176 Fixed-term undertake teaching online? Curtin* 75 375 Continuing NTEU is seeking your input to help our Deakin 40 for 342 Continuing conditions and campaign better working ECU 21 142 Fixed-term, convertible after 3 years job security. Flinders 10 170 convertible after 3 years Our survey takes just Fixed-term, 5 to 15 min to complete. Griffith Continuing You don’t36have438to be an NTEU member to take JCU 36 encourage 106 Fixed-term & Continuing to take part. Please your colleagues Lathe Trobesurvey, 25 too. 302 Fixed-term, convertible after 3 years Macquarie

24

302

Continuing

Melbourne

60

525

Fixed-term & Continuing

Monash*

33

653

Fixed-term, convertible after 3 years

Murdoch

8

151

Fixed-term

Go to unicasual.org.au to get started

term for 2 years, may be Active until 31Fixed August 2014 convertible

UQ

28

403

RMIT

15

566

Fixed-term then convertible

Swinburne

50

227

Mixture from settlement of casuals case

Sydney

80

538

Continuing

Uni SA

40

310

Continuing

UCAN*

23

n/p

Fixed-term, convertible

UWS

70

425

Fixed term & Continuing

VU

40

207

Fixed term & Continuing

TOTAL

748

6714

Estimate of 670 after 3 years

1. DIISRTE Staff 2012, FTE of actual casual teaching only and teaching and research staff [Appendix 1.7]. 2. At mid-June, still subject to negotiation. * Estimates from 2012 published Departmental data. Curtin: approx. 20% of casuals (5% each year over 4 years); Monash: est. 5% of sessional casuals at March 2014; UCAN: 30% of fixed term & casuals over preceding 12 months

read online at www.unicasual.org.au

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National Insecure Work Conference in November

Nationa Insecur l e Work Confere nce Hobart, Tasman ia Novemb er 2

014

unicasual.org.au/insecurework2014

NTEU’s National Conference on Insecure Work will be held in Hobart on 19 and 20 November 2014. NTEU Branches will be asked to send at least one delegate (nationally funded) who is employed in one of the three areas of precarious work (Academic casuals, Contract researchers, and other contract and casuals on ‘soft money’) which will be the focus of the conference.

• To recognise NTEU’s past and current approaches to increasing employment security and to improving the remuneration and conditions of those in insecure work.

Further delegates and speakers will also be sponsored to attend the conference to a limit of about 100 participants.

There will be opportunities to connect remotely to the conference sessions and participate. We are currently organising which platforms to use. Look out for the details online.

Conference objectives

• To critically evaluate current strategies, to inform ongoing NTEU industrial and political strategic policy. • To provide a forum for organising around precarious work to strengthen existing networks and create new ones.

Conferencing in the digital age

unicasual.org.au/insecurework2014

The conference has four objectives:

Contact National President Jeannie Rea with feedback and ideas

• To increase understanding of the extent and characteristics of precarious work in the sector.

jrea@nteu.org.au

A degree shouldn’t cost a mortgage The 2014 Federal Budget made a 20 per cent cut to undergraduate funding and a 10 per cent cut to postgraduate funding, gives handouts to private providers to compete with public universities, and then handballs it to the universities to set tuition fees at whatever level they can get away with. The NTEU reacted by immediately launching a major campaign to try to convince the Senate to reject the whole package. We immediately crunched the numbers and worked out that, if the funding cuts went through and the costs shifted to students, the price of some degrees would be more than $100,000. The move to a market interest rate would escalate students’ debts and they would be paying the debt back for years. The debt would run further out of control if the graduate was not earning above the repayment threshold. This scenario really depressed prospective women students as they realised that they could be still be paying their student debt in their fifties, just as their children wanted to go to university.

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Connect // Volume 7, no. 2

Semester 2, 2014

In a recent speech at ANU, Nobel laureate, economist Joseph Stiglitz concluded that the Australian Government’s plans to deregulate universities were a ‘crime’. The higher education budget changes are symptomatic of the Coalition Government’s policies that attack the aspirations of middle Australia as well as ruthlessly punishing the poor and disadvantaged for their misfortune. The presumption of many ordinary Australian families that their children might go to university if they worked hard have now been dashed. NTEU is encouraging university staff to appeal to their local parliamentarians to reject the Budget. Go to our dedicated website for more information and analysis and numerous ways to make your voice heard. Also see National President Jeannie Rea’s editorial on page 2 of this issue of Connect. www.nteu.org.au/degreemortgage


Research Training Scheme

Fees for degrees By Jen Tsen Kwok Policy & Research Officer

Considerable pre-Budget speculation neither predicted the cuts to the Research Training Scheme (RTS), nor the introduction of up to $3900 in fees for research training. So what do these changes mean for Australian higher education? And what do they mean for you?

What was announced in the Budget? The Abbott Government declared universities will be able to charge Higher Degree Research (HDR) students an annual fee of up to $3900 (for a high cost degree), and $1,700 (for a low cost degree). The quantum of funding dedicated to the Research Training Scheme (RTS) is being reduced by 10 per cent (or about $174 million) because universities will have the ability to collect revenue through student contributions. Though unlikely, universities have the discretion not to charge fees.

When will this reform start? Both measures come into effect on 1 January 2016.

Will fees be applicable to students already undertaking a research degree? Yes.

Is it deferrable debt? The Department has stated that students will be able to pay their contribution upfront or they can defer payment through the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) arrangements.

Does deferred payment accrue interest? The Department claims this debt does not accrue interest but ‘is subject to indexation’ (which is basically the same thing). Indexation is applied on 1 June each year to maintain its real value (as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI)). The Department also states that debts are not indexed until they are 11 months

old. The University of Melbourne’s Emmaline Bexley claims that HECS from your undergraduate degree will ‘quietly accumulate compound interest’ as you complete your research degree.

How will Higher Degree Research (HDR) students react to the accumulation of even more HELP debt? Where numerous studies have argued that the introduction of HECS does not adversely affect participation in higher education, this does not apply to HDR qualifications. More important is the fact that Australia’s domestic HDR commencements have flat-lined since the mid-2000s, only moderately increased by international enrolments, and in the context of a long-term decline in the value of the APA stipend. The introduction of fees is likely to discourage future domestic HDR students. Its implications in potentially discouraging international HDR enrolments are an even more significant, unrealised financial risk.

How will this impact Australia’s research and innovation agenda? In relation to the scale of publicly-funded research, Suzanne Cory, former President of the Australian Academy of Science stated that the introduction of tuition fees was of ‘great concern as these students are the engine for our nation’s research’. Only a few years ago, University of Melbourne’s Frank Larkins stated that as much as 60-70% of research involved HDR students in particular disciplines. He added that HDR students were authors on about 20-30% of all research outputs.

How will this impact the Australian economy? In relation to Australia’s broader innovation and research agenda, a group of research administrators warned in The Conversation, ‘A fall in the Australian research student population will have a significant impact on the growth of a high-quality research workforce.’ This is particularly disturbing considering that only last year the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA) projected growing demand for qualifications until 2025, and that this would ‘be strongest for higher qualification levels, including postgraduate, undergraduate and diploma/advanced diploma’. Cuts to the RTS represent the Abbott Government’s failure to make the human capital investment necessary to meet Australia’s future demand for specialised skills. For more info: www.education.gov.au/research-training-scheme

read online at www.unicasual.org.au

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NTEU Expert Seminar

Casualisation – global and Australian trends By Helena Spyrou Education & Training Officer

On Thursday 3 July, the NTEU hosted the first of its series of NTEU Expert Seminars. Australian academic Robyn May (currently working at Melbourne University) talked with National President Jeannie Rea about the state of academic casualisation in Australia and how casualisation of academic work is contributing to a deprofessionalisation of the academic profession.

plan for the future. Casuals are afraid to speak out, afraid to make waves for fear of losing out on work.’

Around 16 people attended the seminar in Melbourne and almost the same number joined the discussion via Twitter with #auscasuals.

Robyn also highlighted the importance of identifying accurate workforce statistics. By using data from the Griffith survey with Unisuper figures, she was able to approximate the number of academic casuals in Australia, saying that, ‘in 2011 there were between 50,000 and 60,000 casuals in the sector.’

Robyn’s research on the casualisation of academic work in Australia was part of the ARC Linkage project ‘Gender and Employment Equity: Strategies for advancement in Australian universities’, based at Griffith University and led by Professor Glenda Strachan. NTEU was an industry partner on the research project. This topic is of heightened importance given the radical changes underway in the Australian university sector resulting from the recent Federal Budget. The situation in Australia has many parallels with other Anglo-American nations where new public management and reduced levels of public funding and support for higher education are common features. Robyn recently presented her PhD research at the 41st Annual Conference on Collective Bargaining in Higher Education at City University New York. Jeannie began the conversation by asking Robyn to talk about the conference. ‘They were super interested in Australia’s union efforts and the fact we only have one industry union for staff working higher education.’ Robyn spoke about how through the lobbying efforts by a number of unions and coalitions of contingent staff, a report was commissioned by the US House of Representatives Staff Committee. The just-in-time professor – House Committee Report on Education and the Workforce, brings to attention the prevalence of insecure work in higher education in the US. Robyn also noted the efforts of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), famous for their ‘Justice for Janitors’ campaign and how they developed an ‘adjunct action’ campaign. The conversation then turned to identifying terms used to describe an academic casual in Australia and overseas, terms such as: ‘sessional’, ‘adjunct’, ‘a visiting fellow’, or ‘a teaching associate’. Robyn gave an example of one private college in the US where ‘the insecurely employed academic staff were referred to as ‘visiting faculty’, which led one of their number to observe that, yes, he had been ‘visiting for 17 years!’’ Robyn said that we must reclaim the word ‘casual’ because, the other terms, ‘imply a level of employment security that does not exist. Casual academic staff can be fired and can leave with one hour’s notice and it happens … we need to call it what it is, casual employment. It is absolutely precarious. Casuals get no sick pay, no holidays, none of the things that come with normal employment. Casuals have NO capacity to

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Connect // Volume 7, no. 2

Semester 2, 2014

Robyn went on to talk about the work and careers survey she conducted at Griffith as part of her PhD research that showed the spread of insecurity and the different guises job insecurity took. She said that ‘in Australia if you are teaching only there is around a 90% chance that you are casual, and if you are research only there is around an 80% chance that you will be employed on a fixed term basis, as a result of the grant based nature of the work.’

Jeannie and Robyn then moved on to talking about the impact of casualisation upon teaching and research academic staff. Robyn pointed out, ‘over 70% are responsible for supervising at least one casual academic and 25% manage between 3-5 casual staff.’ She went on to describe how students are affected by casualisation, ‘particularly those who need more support in the early undergraduate years, the first in family, low-SES students who are typically at universities with higher proportions of casuals working in large first year courses.’ Robyn commented on how ‘a whole generation of aspiring academics are impacted by the unravelling of the academic career path and in some disciplines in particular there is an acute awareness that a secure academic position is a pipe dream.’ Finally, she emphasised how ‘the greatest and probably the most invisible impact of casualisation is on casuals themselves, the loss of hope and thwarted ambitions took a high toll on many of the casuals I interviewed.’ Asked about who casual academics are, Robyn said that her research showed the majority have or are studying for their PhD, are younger, female, seeking a secure position, and one in five juggle multiple jobs. She added that the other key feature is that casuals are invisible within their institutions. After questions from the floor and from those tweeting in, the conversation ended with Robyn reminding the audience there is little evidence to back up the myth that casual work suits a lot of people and that this myth should be challenged as her research shows that only one in ten actually chose their casual status. Meanwhile, the conversation on Twitter was lively throughout the seminar and continued on after the seminar had ended. The NTEU Expert Seminar Series is an opportunity to learn more about and discuss issues relevant to the higher education sector. We look forward to presenting a number of seminars each year and invite you to send in your ideas about topics you would like to see. Please email Helena Spyrou, hspyrou@nteu.org.au nteu.org.au/seminars


Pyne’s vision for higher ed in Australia

What does it mean for casualisation of academic work? By Robyn May Griffith University

Education Minister Christopher Pyne has been quoted saying how Australia has much to learn from the US when it comes to higher education, about ‘student choice, competition and a culture of philanthropy’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 28 April 2014). Just how this might look for academic staff in Australia, who are already subject to high levels of job insecurity, was unsurprisingly not part of the Education Minister’s glowing recommendations. A quick look at how academic staff are faring in the US gives little comfort for what Pyne’s vision might look like for employment in the sector. Whilst the US higher education system is a complex mix of public and private providers, state based universities and high status research intense universities, and not directly comparable with Australia, what stands out is the very heavy reliance on insecurely employed academic staff. Across the US a wide variety of insecurity in academic employment is apparent. Large proportions of academic staff are employed semester by semester, others have rolling full time contracts but no security. Likewise a variety of conditions apply, some get health insurance, some get conversion rights after threshold periods, others, just like casual academics in Australia, earn an hourly rate and little else.

The complexity in the US is overlayed by union representation that is just as diverse. Insecurely employed academic staff are represented by a variety of unions from the United Auto Workers to the Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of Teachers to the American Association of University Professors. Bargaining rights and representation are equally complex, rule bound and fragmented. The consistent story across higher education in the US has been the relentless decline in secure academic employment. Overall, part-time (semester by semester) and non-tenure track staff represent more than two-thirds of all academic staff, or faculty as they are referred to in the US. At the private for profit colleges the picture is much worse, with upwards of 90 per cent of academic staff insecurely employed. The proportions of PhD graduates employed in higher education in the US is shrinking year on year with secure employment taking longer to achieve for an ever declining proportion of PhD graduates. Marc Bosquet’s compelling book Higher education and the lowwage nation, describes the university campus as a ‘kind of fusion reactor for casualisation’, as it both serves the economy with a source of casual labour, students, and normalises the experience of casual work (Bousquet, 2008:44). It’s a picture that many of us recognise already on our campuses across Australia. On a headcount basis around half of all academic staff in Australia are employed on an hourly rate basis, and far from being ‘portfolio workers’, a majority of these casual academics would like more secure employment but casual employment is all they can get. Universities do not invest in training and development for casual/ sessional staff in the way they do for ongoing staff, and many casuals struggle to secure basic employment conditions such as an office space and somewhere to meet with students. These staff know that their employment conditions hinder their capacity to provide a quality education. It’s clear that in Pyne’s vision for Australian higher education teaching quality, and employment security for those university staff still lucky enough to have it, will be early casualities and gaining an academic position post PhD will be even harder.

read online at www.unicasual.org.au

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University work becoming more precarious By Jeannie Rea NTEU National President

The Commonwealth Department of Education recently released the university workforce data for 2012. This data, collected from the universities, reveals that since 2005 only one in four (24%) new jobs at Australian universities has been an ongoing or continuing job. Three out of four have been contract or casual. Consequently, only one in two staff (on a full time equivalent (FTE) basis) employed at Australian universities now have secure employment (see Fig. 1). This means that the proportion of insecure workers in universities is much higher than the national average. The level of precarious work is further revealed by the type of work (see Fig. 2). Over 90% of those employed in ‘teaching only’ positions are casual (80.3%) or on limited term contracts (10.2%). Note that these are FTE (full time equivalent) numbers, so each of these positions equates to around four actual people. Over the past few years, the plight of casually employed teaching academics has been exposed along with the consequences for the maintenance of quality education and loss of opportunities for innovation, let alone the squandering of the next generation of academics’ careers. However, what is not so well known is that almost 90% of ‘research only’ academics are also precariously employed. Whilst less than 10% are casual, almost 80% are on limited term contracts. There include researchers who have been on limited term contracts for decades, alongside more securely employed colleagues. There has been a massive expansion in ‘research only’ positions over the past decade – but almost exclusively in limited term positions. The consequences for career and research development are dire. And almost 40% of general/professional FTE positions are contract or casual. Too many staff are on continual and only slightly changing casual contracts and others are on limited term contracts paid against ‘soft money’ projects. There has been no reaction from Universities Australia to these very worrying statistics, which is not surprising. Only NTEU has publicised this data condemning the callous disregard for staff and the consequences for students, and the reputation of Australia’s universities. Privately, vicechancellors will agree that these levels of precarious work are unacceptable to maintain quality and enable innovation and cutting edge education and research. But there seems to be no preparedness to stop listening to the corporate advisors and their mantras of the advantages of flexibility for having a scared and docile workforce. What has happened to university jobs is scandalous. Not only are new jobs that are created precariously, but when secure positions are vacated they are not filled or filled temporarily despite there being ongoing work to be done.

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Connect // Volume 7, no. 2

Semester 2, 2014


Fig. 1 Changes in Australian university employment, 2005–2012 Teaching only staff 4,334 new jobs

Teaching & Research staff 2,378 new jobs

Research only staff 4,413 new jobs

82%

86%

86%

insecure

insecure

insecure

All Academic staff 11,125 new jobs 84% insecure

percentage of new university jobs that are insecure

76%

General/Professional staff 13,112 new jobs 69% insecure

Source: Data supplied by Dept of Education

Fig. 2 Composition of Australian university staff

Full time equivalent (FTE), type of work by work contract

Teaching only staff

Research only staff

Actual Casual 80.3%, Limited Term 10.2%, Continuing 9.3%, Other 0.2%

Actual Casual 8.2%, Limited Term 79.8%, Continuing 11.9%, Other 0.1%

Teaching & Research staff

General/Professional staff

Actual Casual 1%, Limited Term 25%, Continuing 73.9%, Other 0.1%

Actual Casual 11.7%, Limited Term 26.8%, Continuing 61.3%, Other 0.2%

Total FTE staff Actual Casual 15.9%, Limited Term 31.7%, Continuing 32.1%, Other 0.3%

Actual Casual

Limited Term

Continuing

Source: Data supplied by Dept of Education

read online at www.unicasual.org.au

9


The Budget and

You

Despite the Coalition’s promises to the contrary prior to the 2013 Federal Election, the 2014-15 Federal Budget presented some of the most dramatic changes to higher education in over a generation. It also laid a blue print for a fundamentally different approach to social investment and welfare. Public spending in many traditional areas has been slashed and community organisations, charities, families and individuals are scrambling to fill the void. While these changes will affect most people in some way or other, casual workers at Australian universities will face particularly challenging circumstances. For casuals who are combining work with study at the undergraduate level, the announcements will see government funding for courses cut by 20 per cent, the deregulation of university fees and for the first time, the charging of market interest rates on outstanding debts. This could see the cost of some degrees at some universities rising to over $100,000. Graduates will also be required to begin repayments on outstanding debts a lot sooner, with the lowering of the HELP repayment threshold.

By Courtney Sloane NTEU Media Officer

M@NTEUNational

Postgraduate students will also feel the pain. Funding for the Research Training Scheme will be cut by 10 per cent and higher degree research students will be asked to pay tuition fees capped at $3,900 for high-cost disciplines. The Future Fellows program will be halved in size and the future of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme is in doubt. These changes will overwhelmingly have an impact on people who are studying or who are in precarious work at our universities. Those studying will be paying more to study and taking much longer to pay it off, and universities facing the spectre of funding cuts will be forced to broaden their search for savings. For casuals just beginning their careers at universities, particularly those with

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a student debt, this means even more financial pressure as interest on debt builds, and repayment thresholds are lowered. Research funding streams and research bodies have also been targeted. The Australian Research Council’s funding has been cut by over $74 million, as has the CSIRO’s by more than $111 million. These represent a small amount of the overall $880 million cuts from science and research agencies across the Budget. For casuals that need to take time out from work to have a baby, or care for a sick or elderly family member, these debts will compound and in some cases not be paid off until well into a graduate’s fifties or sixties. With women tending to have more interrupted careers than men, this has an obvious gender dimension to it. NTEU analysis has shown that where under the old arrangements a female accounting graduate would pay $30,255 in tuition and take 20 years to repay it, she will now pay $120,000 (including $45,000 in real interest) and take 36 years to repay it. She will be 58 years old by the time she gets rid of her undergraduate student debt. This places further pressure on women saving for retirement; women who are already likely to earn over $1 million less over their lifetime.

experiencing unemployment has been drastically altered. People under the age of 30 will need to wait six month to be eligible for Newstart benefits, and will only be able to claim it for six months before the benefit is cut for another six months. Recipients will also have to work 25 hours each week on ‘work for the dole’ type programs while receiving benefits. For casuals who already find themselves under pressure and overworked in a system that makes career planning near impossible, this paints a bleak picture. This is why the NTEU has launched a campaign against changes to higher education. While both the Greens and the Labor Party have outlined their opposition to these cuts, we are working hard to ensure the community know what’s at stake, and that these changes get defeated in the Senate. We can only do this with your support so please join our campaign www.nteu.org.au/degreemortgage

But it is not just at work where casuals will be hurting. Casual workers with young families will be hit by the planned $7 Medicare co-payment, a fuel excise, cuts to Gonski school funding, and cuts to health and dental spending. Young families will also have Family Tax Benefit B payments cut off when their youngest child turns six. Low income workers will be impacted by the decision to freeze thresholds of eligibility for welfare payments as well as the payments themselves. Previously, thresholds were indexed to CPI and so the eligibility would increase with inflation. Payments will now decrease in real terms as they no longer account for increases in inflation. For casuals who suddenly find themselves without a renewed contract, or between jobs, the social safety net in place for people

read online at www.unicasual.org.au

11


WHY I’M A MEMBER Karin Stokes Central Queensland University

I

t’s something I’ve always done’ isn’t really a sufficient answer from a sociologist, so I’ll reflect and attempt to uncover the reasons for my engagement with unionism generally and the NTEU in particular. Coming from a working class migrant family, I watched my father’s struggles with strikes and being ‘laid off’ and even the occasional prolonged illness. At times it was pretty frightening – where would our next meal come from? What alternate work was available? What were the conditions under which work would be available? It led me to believe that unionism is a safe way to negotiate work and salary conditions – children in Australia just weren’t encouraged towards entrepreneurship, they were encouraged to look for ‘a job’, and that meant taking a role of less power in industries where profits and outcomes drove employment, not worker welfare. So when I began work, I joined a union. It sometimes seemed as though unionism was just another cost of work, but as liberalisation gradually took over from traditional work ethics and conditions, the support of the unions ensured that any losses were compensated for, and that pay kept in close step with costs of living. Decades passed and as I transferred from industry to industry, I maintained my link to the relevant unions, and continued to do so when I entered academia. As an undergraduate I had initially baulked at the union fees – I was an external student and so unlikely to make use of the on-site facilities, but as my relationship with the university grew, I could see how student unionism could instil a sense of belonging that the impersonality of the university was unable to match. The release of students from unionism has resulted in their loss of voice as a collective, and an increase in the uncertainty that permeates the lives of those with little power. Graduating to the university staff level, the support of the NTEU became important, as I negotiated my first few contracts. NTEU staff were always available to answer queries as to my rights and the conditions of work that I could expect to encounter, and on the occasions when I felt aggrieved, the NTEU was there to help me understand my options and to offer support. Eight years later, I continue my support of the union which supports me – it is comforting to know that I do not stand alone. I work on short-term contracts, there are no restrictions to the hours or types of work I can be engaged in, and it suits the liberalised university to maintain an academic stable of ‘casuals’ to support the full-time staff. But it isn’t always easy. Universities are increasingly expecting casual staff to develop the skills and expertise to function within their environments, but in their own time. The hourly rate for work is calculated on a method that is increasingly unsustainable. Students expect staff availability to cater to their needs, not the working hours of the university. So the distractions that temper the work of full-time staff - such as meetings, interactions with other staff and students, or staff development training - are not allowed for in the conditions of casual staff, nor is the need for continual networking, a ‘must’ if contracts are to remain forthcoming. There are differences of opinion in how Deans and unions interpret and understand the conditions for casual staff, and although I haven’t challenged erroneous assumptions, I am aware of the discrepancies and of my options in dealing with them. For this I have the NTEU to thank. Their support and clarification of the issues I face empowers me whilst also aiding my growing influence over the work that I do. Am I an active supporter of the NTEU? When it suits my schedule. Do I promote the NTEU to other staff? Absolutely – union membership is a democratic right and negotiates for the common good. I may not always agree with the results of negotiations, but I always have the option to become more engaged should I so desire. It is an inevitable condition of industries to demand the maximum level of work for the least amount of recompense, and as isolated voices attempting enterprise bargaining, workers are doomed to fail. Unions have the ability to hold industries to account on behalf of those who in turn support the union, and even for those who don’t. The NTEU is my voice in ensuring that my conditions and compensation for work remains acceptable to me and to my employer. And if I stumble, the NTEU is there to help me up again. For this I am grateful.

Karin Stokes is an academic at CQU and an NTEU member.

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Connect // Volume 7, no. 2

Semester 2, 2014


$100,000 DEGREES? I DIDN’T VOTE FOR THIS. www.nteu.org.au/1stdegree2ndmortgage

read online at www.unicasual.org.au

13


Things I wish I’d known about alt-ac By Tseen Khoo The Research Whisperer

M@researchwhisper

When I was first approached to write this article for Connect, I felt compelled to present a stats-ridden view of why thinking about alternative academic (alt-ac) pathways was not only possible, but necessary. What I’ve ended up writing, though, is what I wish I’d been told about alt-ac career paths when I was at various job decision points in my life. While stats can be good to give an overview of the sector, they don’t help when it comes to making highly personal and contextualised decisions about what you choose to do. I have been to and fro several times between being an academic and professional administrative staff. Some of those jobs were by choice, and some were forced by circumstance. A continuing academic position is often thought of as the traditional ‘destination’ for a PhD student. It varies from discipline to discipline, with some – like those in engineering - particularly bemused by many disciplines’ dependency on the academy for a career. The fact that ending up in a continuing academic position has been a minority option for years has been slow to make an impact on the way the university sector addresses career options for its graduates. Many are in the system in precarious ways – as casual staff or fixed-termers – hoping to build their academic profiles while trying to provide for themselves and their families. Across numerous higher education contexts, scholars have declared the system ‘broken’: postgraduate students racking up huge debts, PhDs graduating with few academic job options, and universities extremely dependent on the labour of highly skilled casual staff. I’m not contesting any of this. They are all very good reasons to take a step back and look at academia today for what it is. Part of the reason why it can be difficult to leave academia is that the culture of presuming that a PhD leads to a longer-term future in academia stays very strong. The result of these presumptions is that those who cannot find a more secure way ‘in’ to academia may feel angry, cheated, and diminished. It is a fraught situation to negotiate, and one that has led to highly emotive and divisive politics within the sector (cf. the ‘lifeboaters’ vs adjunct debates in the United States). For those who are thinking through career possibilities, these are three things I’ve learned about moving between alt-ac and academic roles.

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1. There is no end of the road There are many well-meaning senior academics who will encourage you to ‘hang in there’ because they think that stepping off the academic track is career suicide. This attitude permeates many academic corridors, and leads to compelling arguments for why academia is a cult. Just because you leave the academic track doesn’t mean you are no longer an academic. Particularly for those who become researchers elsewhere (e.g. government, non-profits, industry), or continue their research in other roles, the job-change does not always equal a career change. It can mean a career change, and these are some of the happiest stories I’ve heard, when being ‘deprogrammed’ of academia-only perspectives leads to a better balance of priorities and consequent proactive perspective with which to address career choices. You’ll be surprised at what adaptable skills you have, and how they can be greatly valued in non-academic environments.

2. The right job for now can be fine At times, you have to take what’s on offer, and it may not be where you ultimately see yourself. Having been to and fro several times, I’d challenge that thinking with “So, what?”. You’re not necessarily in that job forever. I secured my first continuing (alt-ac) job after a series of stressed-out fixed-term positions. I was delighted and felt I could relax financially for the first time in my adult life. I left that job after three years. Not because I hated it, or had a bad experience, but because I felt strong and clear enough that I wanted to take a career risk (ironically, to return to academia…). Taking a job that is not your ideal, but gives you the breathing space to make other plans and build up new or existing skills, is not a bad thing. If it gives you a stronger overall view of the positive/negative aspects of academia, even better. I am back in academia, and I know its warts all too well.

3. You can go back, better Leaving academia doesn’t mean you can’t come back, and ditto for government, industry, and non-profits. As mentioned earlier, there is no end of the road. Having spent so much time in academia, and often caught up with trying to justify why, it can feel like you’re giving up on it – ‘quitting’ – if you look elsewhere. In any other stream of employment, assessing the value and potential of a workplace and

its career options (not to mention day-to-day quality of life) would be considered sensible. My various changes in career direction have led to a ‘portfolio’ of skills and expertise that landed me in my current position. I wouldn’t have been competitive for this job if I hadn’t meandered to the other areas I had. In the sense of academics choosing to have a more diverse working skillset/experience, The increasing value that a portfolio career can offer in terms of remuneration and lifestyle is well documented. Sure, it may not have been your first choice (or what you considered a ‘fair’ choice at the time), but knowing what your value and priorities are in work is empowering. Don’t participate in the cult of academia. It is a workplace and job like any other, with pros and cons. It is not a unique employer – working in other sectors gives you a good idea of how people are treated, for better or worse. There’s a lot of work still to be done to ensure that academia is a non-exploitative and equitable space. We also need to acknowledge that alt-ac careers have always been a part of the academic picture, one that was obscured or dismissed. It’s not a question of taking sides; it’s about choosing a career that works with your life.

Recommended alt-ac resources and reads Elizabeth Segran’s excellent Finding meaning after academe (Chronicle), http://chronicle.com/article/Finding-Meaning-AfterAcademe/147489/ Where are all the PhDs? whatareallthephds.tumblr.com How to leave academia howtoleaveacademia.com Josh Boldt’s ‘Off Track’ post on alt-ac resources at Chronicle Vitae https://chroniclevitae.com/news/366-what-s-your-favorite-altac-resource Dr Tseen Khoo is a lecturer in research education and development at La Trobe University. She has been a research grant developer, policy officer, and research-only fellow. Tseen is also the founding convenor of the Asian Australian Studies Research Network (AASRN). With Jonathan O’Donnell, Tseen created and runs The Research Whisperer blog theresearchwhisperer.wordpress.com

read online at www.unicasual.org.au

15


Do casual staff belong on campus? By Karina Luzia Macquarie University

M@acahacker

By Kate Bowles University of Wollongong

M@KateMfd

This last midwinter conference season, we saw again that Australian higher education likes to hold major professional development and networking events while remaining silent on the existence of the majority of its academic workforce. What should academic casuals do: wait to be invited in? We started the CASA blog at the beginning of this year as an ‘online home for casual, adjunct, sessional staff and their allies’ in response to silences like this. Firstly we wanted to come up with a way to have the conversations that were left off the agenda: overlooking the large and increasing contribution of casual academic workers to Australian higher education is to the detriment of the entire sector. For example, to talk about the first year university experience without putting casuals front and centre is to miss the elephant in that particular kitchen by quite some way. But we also wanted to think about what alternatives to these kinds of exclusions might feel like. What would it take for casual university staff to feel right at home in the profession? Universities invest in ensuring that students feel welcome on campus (or online), and put effort into welcoming and supporting permanent staff. What do we know about how casual staff fit—or don’t fit, or can’t fit—into the physical and virtual spaces of contemporary higher education? We both work in geographical research, so there are questions here that make sense to us. How do we belong anywhere? Is belonging an organic process, something that just happens as a result of being within our everyday spaces of home, family, and work? Or is belonging something that we work at, something that we direct effort towards achieving? What can those who manage institutions do to encourage belonging, especially among those to whom it makes the least substantial commitment? Geographer Eric Pawson talks about the need for ‘sticky campuses’: places where students want to be. Pawson knows about the rebuilding of universities: he is Professor of Geography at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, located in Christchurch and extensively damaged by the 2011 earthquakes. Pawson and two University of Canterbury students advocate for ‘environments for learning and social activity that will enhance interaction and stimulate collaboration between students and with staff, whilst giving signals that everyone should be able to feel a sense of belonging as members of a campus community’. Australian universities are continuously engaged in these kinds of conversations about learning spaces, but Pawson connects this to something wider that is very important to all casual staff: the ideal of a campus community. If casual university staff feel that their belonging to a university community is provisional and insecure, can universities address this? What practical signals can universities give that enable casual staff to feel a sense of belonging in the places where they work—especially if they are working in more than one place? Unfortunately, for many casual academic university staff these gestures and signals go missing. In 2012, the US Center for the Future of Higher Education published a policy report, Who is Professor ‘Staff’ and How Can This Person Teach So Many Classes, on the ways in which US adjuncts experienced these slights, that are typically both practical and symbolic. Noting that the courses taught by adjuncts were listed simply as

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Semester 2, 2014


taught by ‘Staff’, the report found that two main factors extended this denial of the presence of adjuncts on their campuses. The first is just-in-time hiring, the major common dimension of casual academic work across the US, the UK and Australia. Last-minute hiring sends a strong message that workers are interchangeable and substitutable, and is very unlikely to create a sense of welcome. It’s what happens next, however, that really challenges casuals to feel at home in their workplaces. As the CFHE found: In addition, most contingent faculty are not given full and effective access to the resources and technologies that define quality education in today’s colleges and universities. They are given, at best, inadequate access to sample course syllabi, curriculum guidelines, library resources, clerical support, and the like. They often have only limited, if any, access to personal offices, telephones, computers and associated software, and technological tools and training. Casual academic staff in Australian universities know what it’s like to struggle to access the spaces and resources that they need to do their jobs. If they have offices at all, these are shared on a basis that makes it hard to meet flexibly with students, so they end up offering consultation in coffee shops, where they’re also doing their preparation and marking. Casual administrative and IT staff are shuffled from desk to desk, and casual research assistants find that they are expected to work in the library or at home if there isn’t enough office space. Casual academics report being chased away from kitchens, stationery supplies and photocopiers because no one recognises them as colleagues. It’s hard (and expensive) to get a parking permit on a casual contract, and so it’s casuals who are parking four streets away, or running out to put money in the parking meter between their classes. And it is increasingly common for universities to expect that casual academic employees provide their own computers and office supplies, do their own printing, and maintain a home office just as permanent academics do. How do casual staff achieve any sense of belonging when they’re treated like this? And what will prompt universities to signal to casual staff that they are valued members of campus communities? US adjuncts have campaigned strongly on the fact that faculty working conditions are student learning conditions. As a start, this should make it a priority for university managers concerned with student engagement to be proactive in consulting with and listening to casual academics to find out what would improve their sense of belonging to the same campus community as their students and permanent staff colleagues. Addressing the problem of belonging is one of the conversations we need to have about university casualisation. So if you’re not a subscriber to CASA, come along and see what we’re doing, and share your experiences and practices of being at home in the campus community—or not. All are welcome. CASA website actualcasuals.wordpress.com

read online at www.unicasual.org.au

17


Precarious Academic Labour Campaigns

News from Abroad

Welcome to a new section of Connect, highlighting amazing campaigns being conducted by higher education trade unions, professional associations and activist organisations around the world. Here is a snapshot of what’s happening in 2014.

Canada The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) flagship national campaign is Fair Employment Week, held at the end of October each year. For Fair Employment Week 2013, CAUT created a designated website (www.fairemploymentweek.ca), containing various campaign resources and an open letter to university and college presidents calling for an end to the casualisation and exploitation of academic staff in Canada. This year, CAUT aims to hold a number of town hall events during Fair Employment Week across the country. Fair Employment Week allows CAUT and its member associations to join with a coalition of unions and activists across North America to organise events to highlight the overuse and exploitation of contract academic staff. From using petitions and posters, to handing out peanuts, academic staff associations have used a variety of creative tactics to inform students, colleagues and the public about the prevalence and working conditions of academics in contingent appointments, who have lower pay, less job security and fewer rights than their tenure-track colleagues, and to advocate for improving those conditions. CAUT represents over 68,000 academic staff at 124 postsecondary institutions in Canada. www.caut.ca M@CAUT_ACPPU

United Kingdom The University and College Union (UCU) is running a ‘Stamp Out Casual Contracts’ campaign highlighting the work that UCU is undertaking in fighting casualisation in further and higher education. In February 2014, the Government launched an online consultation on the use of zero-hours contracts. On 7 May, UCU undertook its annual Day of Action protesting against the over-use

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Connect // Volume 7, no. 2

Semester 2, 2014


of casual contracts. UCU Branches took part with events, meetings, and campaigning to draw attention to the vast numbers of college and university staff employed on zero hours or other casual contracts. The Daily Telegraph ran an article by General Secretary Sally Hunt on the issues. A UCU Anti-Casualisation Training and Organising Conference also took place on 5 June 2014 in London. UCU is the largest post-school union in the world with almost 120,000 members working in post-school education. www.ucu.org.uk M@UCUAnti_Cas

United States In January 2014, New Faculty Majority Foundation (NFMF) held a briefing for congressional staffers on ‘Higher Education Adjunct Faculty Working Conditions and the Legislative Agenda’, in Washington, DC. Participants included Maria Maisto, Foundation President and Executive Director, Esther Merves, Foundation Director of Research and Dan Maxey, Dean’s Fellow, Rossier School of Higher Education, University of Southern California and Co-investigator, The Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success. On the same day, the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce Democratic Staff released its report on contingent faculty in higher education, ‘The Just-In-Time Professor,’ the result of Rep. George Miller’s (D-Calif.) e-forum that collected stories from 845 adjunct faculty in 41 states. NFMF was the impetus behind the forum and the report, which focused on the working conditions of adjunct faculty, the majority of US faculty nationwide, and the effect of their working conditions on student learning conditions. NFMF has also initiated a project to urge the Department of Labor to issue a letter clarifying that adjunct faculty are eligible for unemployment compensation between academic terms. Unions and professional organisations are actively supporting the project. The letter would clarify that contingent faculty members lack reasonable assurance. The US currently has no consistent standards applicable to unemployment compensation eligibility determinations. The letter is part of NFMF’s ongoing

Unemployment Compensation Initiative, designed to help contingent faculty obtain benefits. New Faculty Majority Foundation is an advocacy organisation for contingent faculty in the US and is active in the nation’s capital. www.newfacultymajority.info M@NewFacMajority

New Zealand Insecure work continues to be a growing issue in the tertiary education sector in New Zealand. At the first meeting of the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) Council in February 2014, the priorities for the work of the Union were set and one of those was to further develop an action plan focused on insecure work. The first element is to develop educational workshops for staff on non-permanent agreements in both universities and polytechnics. The Union has negotiated clauses in some of the Collective Agreements that specify restrictions on the use of fixed term and casual appointments. This will continue to be part of the TEU bargaining strategy. As well as limited collective agreement protections, in New Zealand tertiary education staff have some protection under the Employment Relations Act (ERA) where it specifies under what circumstances an employee can be employed on a fixed term appointment. In the workshops, TEU will explain the protections that exist, and encourage staff to review their employment agreements to see if they meet the criteria in the ERA and their Collective Agreements. TEU is developing posters to highlight the impact of insecure work using qualitative data from a 2013 member survey. 2014 is an election year in New Zealand and TEU will be lobbying for additional protections for insecure work in the ERA. The Tertiary Education Union Te Hautū Kahurangi o Aotearoa (TEU) represents more than 10,000 workers employed in tertiary education across New Zealand. www.teu.ac.nz M@nzteu Thanks to our international colleagues Lesley Francey (TEU), Robert Johnson (CAUT), Paula Maggio (NFM).

read online at www.unicasual.org.au

19


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marine, self-drive and many more.

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website to receive discount.

For more information: 1300 853 352 | memberadvantage.com.au/nteu 1) Indicative only. Annual saving figure based on average household spend of $204 per week ($10,608 per year) on food and non-alcoholic beverages. Source: ABS Household expenditure survey 20092010. 2) Offer available to Australian residents only. Countrywide Tolstrup Financial Services Group Pty Ltd ABN 51 586 953 292 AFSL 244436 acts under its own Australian Financial Services Licence and under an agreement with the insurer, CGU Insurance Limited ABN 27 004 478 371 AFSL 238291(CGU). This is general advice only so before making any decisions, you should consider your own circumstances and the PDS available from www.cgu.com.au.


You’re in the right place with UniSuper Since 1983, we’ve been Australia’s only superannuation fund dedicated to higher education and research sector professionals. We offer competitive fees, high quality products and services and a diverse range of investment options to fulfil the unique superannuation and retirement needs of more than 450,000 members.

www.unisuper.com.au

enquiry@unisuper.com.au

1800 331 685

Figures quoted are at 30 June 2013. Issued by UniSuper Management Pty Ltd (ABN 91 006 961 799, AFSL 235907) on behalf of UniSuper Limited, ABN 54 006 027 121 the trustee of UniSuper (ABN 91 385 943 850). Level 35, 385 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000.

@UniSuperNews

Profile for NTEU

Connect, July 2014  

Vol. 7, no. 2. NTEU & CAPA magazine for casual and sessional academics in Australian universities.

Connect, July 2014  

Vol. 7, no. 2. NTEU & CAPA magazine for casual and sessional academics in Australian universities.

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