Following the protected action ballot late last semester, the NTEU has now decided its first industrial action will be a half-day strike and rally on Thursday 27th of July, in the first week of Semester 2.
The strike comes after members of the NTEU voted overwhelmingly for industrial action due to a lack of concession from the ANU over the new enterprise bargaining agreement. Millan Pintos-Lopez, President of the NTEU’s ANU Branch, told Woroni that since the ballot passed, the NTEU has seen movement on establishing healthy workloads, and flexible work. But salary increases and job security for casuals have seen little progress, to the dissatisfaction of union members.
NTEU ACT President Lachlan Clohesy confirmed that this strike will not be picketed. During a picket strike, workers aim to prevent other workers from entering the building, or in this case the campus, with the aim of shutting down operations entirely. At the University of Sydney, the NTEU only introduced picket strikes as the industrial action escalated.
Both Clohesy and Pintos-Lopez encouraged students to attend the rally on Thursday the 27th and the NTEU and ANUSA have previously argued that staff teaching conditions are student learning conditions.
It is unclear what impact the strike will have on classes. The decision around whether classes must be rescheduled is ultimately the University’s. Woroni asked an ANU spokesperson about potential arrangements in the case industrial action impacted classes. The spokesperson provided the following comment: “We recognise the NTEU’s right to take industrial action. ANU has some of the best working conditions in Australia. We have just put forward a very competitive pay offer of 17 per cent increase over four years. Negotiations continue to be positive and respectful and we are making good progress.”
The NTEU disputes this 17 per cent figure. As it includes a 3.5% admin pay rise already applied to staff pay earlier this year, and with no pay rise in 2022, the NTEU claims the deal is only a 3.2% increase per year from 2023 to 2026.
At the University of Sydney, where strikes have taken place throughout 2022 and 2023, alternate arrangements included holding classes online, or cancelling classes altogether if a lecturer or tutor is participating in industrial action. It remains to be seen what the ANU’s chosen course of action will be in response to the planned strike.
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