Strike pressure for pay talks

January 20, 1995

Australian universities could suffer widespread disruption this year as academic and general staff begin industrial action for a 10 per cent pay rise.

The National Tertiary Education Union has warned members to prepare to take "determined industrial action" in support of the increase.

The action could include bans, go-slows, strikes, withdrawal of support for committees and even the shutdown of payrolls.

The union has called on vice chancellors to support the move by lobbying federal government to fund 8 per cent of the increase.

Universities began negotiations with local branches of the NTEU late last year to provide an initial 2 per cent wage rise to be met from institutional budgets. This is expected to flow into pay packets by September.

A 10 per cent salary boost would add more than Aus$300 million (Pounds 150 million) to higher education spending and would mean that by 1996, professors would be earning $90,000 a year, senior lecturers $80,000 and lecturers $70,000.

The government agreed last year to meet the cost of a 2.9 per cent wage increase which it is paying in two stages, the second part due next month.

Union officials will seek a meeting with education minister Simon Crean to look at ways the government might fund the 8 per cent rise in next May's government budget.

The union is considering the adoption of a summer semester and after-hours teaching to improve student throughput as trade-offs for the rise.

NTEU general secretary, Grahame McCulloch, said a "political and industrial environment that maintains pressure on Labor" was needed.

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