Allegations some Uni Sydney staff not paid correct rates

80 casual academic staff in Uni Sydney’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences allege six years of underpayment and claim they are owed $2m

The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union and the university-based Casuals Network have lodged a grievance with management seeking “six years of redress” for unpaid labour in breach of the Uni Sydney enterprise agreements.

The claims are understood to relate to four specific issues; that casuals have been paid piece-work rather than hourly rates for tasks, they received a lower rate for marking in cases where the payment that should apply is for assessment that requires academic judgement and are not paid for the actual hours course administration and class preparation take.

The basis of the complaint, that staff have worked without pay, is clause 59 of the university’s Enterprise Agreement, that “the university accepts the principle that all work allocated to casual staff should be able to be completed in the time allocated to undertake the work.”

However, Uni Sydney management responds, that it has recently concluded an investigation of work practises for casual academics in FASS that “could have resulted in recurrent underpayments of entitlements.”

“We found no evidence to support the allegations, and rejected them accordingly,” the university states.

Which is different to what the university concluded last month, when it reported finding that six years of “incorrect gathering and reporting of information” meant 12.894 (almost all) professional staff (CMM September 14)

So, it seems the university is sure of its ground on the new claims. It will need to be.

The Fair Work Ombudsman reports her agency is investigating 14 universities over staff pay. “I make no apology that we expect Australian universities to invest in governance frameworks and practises that will ensure compliance with workplace laws,” she told an audience at TEQSA. One of the specifics she mentioned was, ““likely” breaches of enterprise agreements, “arising from poor governance and management oversight practises,” (CMM October 11 2021).