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Uni wage theft exposed by Senate report

Media Release
Mehreen Faruqi 20 Oct 2021

Australian Greens Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has welcomed the publication of the Senate Select Committee on Job Security’s second interim report, and called for its recommendations to be implemented.

Senator Faruqi, who is a Committee Member, said:

“Wage theft at our universities is out of control. What’s worse, most universities are continuing to wipe their hands of it and dismiss the systemic and serious nature of the underpayments.

“Casual workers, and particularly women who are overrepresented as casuals, are bearing the brunt of this wage theft that has been allowed to flourish, almost completely unchecked until now. Casualisation and wage theft are inextricably linked. We heard from so many university staff during this inquiry about their horrific experiences.

“An entire generation of casual academics have been hung out to dry.

“Our universities are in desperate need of a massive investment of public funding after the devastation of Covid-19 and the abandonment of the sector by the Commonwealth. But we also need an overhaul of university governance. The corporate university has been built by corporate, neoliberal university management.

“The report provides some very useful recommendations. There should be much clearer reporting requirements with respect to employment statistics. The government should require universities set publicly-available targets for increasing permanent employment, and link this to funding. There should be improved rights of entry for trade unions. All very useful initiatives, and some the Greens have proposed strengthening.”

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