While it was business as usual at the University of Wollongong yesterday, staff and students at other universities across the country joined a National Day of Action on higher education.
Members of the National Tertiary Education Union, the National Union of Students and the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations took stop-work action and held rallies at several campuses to call attention to the need for funding and improved working conditions in the lead-up to the federal election.
Wollongong branch president of the National Tertiary Education Union Penney McFarlane said staff at UOW didn't stop work yesterday because, unlike other universities, they were not in an enterprise bargaining period and therefore had no right to protected action.
Instead, Illawarra union members were asked to share their concerns with the union over the coming week.
Ms McFarlane said the day of action was about supporting colleagues in the middle of bargaining negotiations and creating awareness around the challenges universities faced after $2.3 billion worth of cuts to the higher education sector were announced earlier this year.
"We can only try and highlight that cuts to the university are really dumb cuts in the long run," she said.
Wollongong Undergraduate Students Association president Sam Dixon said the association had encouraged UOW students interested in participating in the day of action to head to rallies in Sydney.