Uni Newcastle and Charles Sturt owe workers millions

Both breached their enterprise agreements

The Fair Work Ombudsman states that both universities identified underpayments and reported them

Uni Newcastle underpaid 7 595 employees $6 269,241 across 2014-20

Mainly casual professional academic and teaching staff were dudded, with the university not paying correct overtime and penalty rates, underpaying meal allowances and not providing minimum engagement hours.

“Deficiencies” in the payroll system and “incorrect application” of enterprise agreements are the attributed reasons.

Charles Sturt U did not pay $3 237 390 it should have to 2526 staff between 2015-22

The FWO states underpayments occurred due to not paying casual professional staff minimum hours and underpayment of casual academics – including not paying PhD qualified staff the specified teaching rate and not paying required preparation time for classes.

The Ombudsman states the largest underpayments were at CSU Bathurst and Wagga Wagga, with the maths and computing school owing most.

What’s next

Both universities have signed “enforceable undertakings” with the FWO and must pay owed wages plus interest and super by end October (Uni Newcastle) and by February (CSU) and demonstrate how they will ensure it does not happen again

The Ombudsman is not done yet

“We expect to be taking further enforcement action against other institutions.”

Including Uni Melbourne, where an investigation into alleged underpayment of casual academics is “ongoing.”

This is separate to the FWO’s Federal Court case alleging the university  “coerced and took adverse action against two casual academics to stop them from claiming payment for work performed.”