BY SALONEE MISTRY
Monash University staff walked off the job this morning after they failed to reach an agreement with the institution over pay and conditions.
National Tertiary Education Union negotiations have stumbled over two issues, the casualisation of the academic workforce, and a proposal to increase the ordinary hours of work to 8pm.
Increasing the ordinary hours of work would leave those who work unsociable hours no longer able to claim overtime benefits.
Monash employee Tania Hall, who works in the finance department, said staff wages were not increasing to keep step with the cost of living.
“I am striking because at the moment there doesn’t seem to be a lot of job security. We have had new systems coming in, as a result of which they are going to be pushing a lot of people out,” she said.
“I have been here for 13 years and I could lose my job tomorrow,” Ms Hall said.
“We just want to work reasonable hours and get pay rises that we so rightly deserve so that we can keep up with the increasing living costs.
Staff rallied along Wellington Road near the university's Clayton campus from 8am, before they marched to the Matheson Library forecourt.
Monash employee and NTEU branch president Tony Ladd said out of 15,000 Monash employees, 9000 had insecure work.
“The university wants us to work longer hours for less pay and no penalty rates either. We are fighting to keep our normal hours,” Mr Ladd said.
Monash Student Association education officer David Power said the MSA was extending its full support to staff .
“This strike is kind of a tester to see how adamant Monash is and obviously the aim of the strike is to get Monash to step down,” Mr Power said.
“But the union is very prepared to escalating to longer strikes or like bigger actions if the university refuses to back down,” he said.
Negotiations with the university have been ongoing since November 2017.
Monash University was contacted for comment.