Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has welcomed the Fair Work Ombudsman’s priority investigation of wage theft and casualisation at universities, following revelations of underpayments at dozens of campuses.
Senator Faruqi said:
“Wage theft is widespread in our universities and it is clearly linked to casualisation and job insecurity, which has been allowed to run rampant.
“I’m glad to see Fair Work take this seriously following years of complaints by university staff and unions, as well as the shocking evidence provided to multiple Senate inquiries.
“Since 2020, I have referred many universities to give evidence to the Senate, compelling senior university management to front up and be accountable for systemic underpayments they had presided over.
“I’m hoping in the new parliament we can take decisive action. Piece rates must be abolished immediately, and universities must introduce publicly available targets for increasing permanent employment and reducing casualisation. The federal government has a clear role to play in making sure this happens.
“More broadly, we need a big injection of public funding for our universities, and to overhaul university governance. The corporate university has been built to serve management, not staff and students. Universities must be reimagined on principles of democracy and equity.”