University of Wollongong staff to protest for job security on Tuesday

SEEKING JOB SECURITY: NTEU UOW branch president Associate Professor Georgine Clarsen and e-support officer Josh Dubrau. Picture: Sylvia Liber

SEEKING JOB SECURITY: NTEU UOW branch president Associate Professor Georgine Clarsen and e-support officer Josh Dubrau. Picture: Sylvia Liber

Mei-Ling (Josh) Dubrau has had 12 different jobs at the University of Wollongong over many years

 But job security is still a ‘’real fear’’ for e-support officer Dr Dubrau.

And she’s not alone, with UOW employment data showing that 75 per cent of the university’s almost 6000 employees in the 2015/16 financial year were on either casual or fixed term contracts.

Georgine Clarsen, the UOW branch president for the National Tertiary Education Union, concedes while many staff members may have been engaged in genuine short term roles, there are hundreds or perhaps thousands of other dedicated, long term employees that have no job security at UOW.

Dr Dubrau is one of those people living month to month, year to year not knowing if she will soon be without a wage.

‘’The frustrating thing is I love what I do but when it comes down to the end of the year I don’t know if I’m going to have a job next year. And that could happen right before Christmas,’’ she said.

The frustrating thing is I love what I do but when it comes down to the end of the year I don’t know if I’m going to have a job next year. - Dr Josh Dubrau

UOW professional and academic staff will rally around a Christmas tree on Tuesday to protest the increased casualisation of staff they say is putting their job security at risk.

Dr Dubrau said one of the most frustrating things of her employment situation was being knocked back for countless home loans.

‘’This is despite the fact I have a deposit of over $100,000 ready to go and make fairly good money. Banks don’t like the fact that I don’t have a permanent job and won’t lend me money for a house.’’

Long-term, casually employed UOW academic Dr Rowan Cahill said too many jobs have been made casual or pushed onto short term contracts.

‘’Christmas, often a time of happiness with family and friends, is instead a time of deep stress for so many UOW staff, waiting to see if that next contract will come, and stretching a meagre budget over the summer with a real risk of no income at all in the New Year,’’ he said.

‘’This has to change, for the good of our university and the good of our community.’’

Christmas, often a time of happiness with family and friends, is instead a time of deep stress for so many UOW staff, waiting to see if that next contract will come, and stretching a meagre budget over the summer with a real risk of no income at all in the New Year. - UOW academic Dr Rowan Cahill

Ms Clarsen said the union would soon start negotiating with UOW management for improved workplace conditions, for both academic and professional administration staff.

‘’The level of insecure work here at UOW is a key union focus,’’ she said.

‘’On our unions’ analysis up to 60 per cent of face-to-face undergraduate teaching is being performed by casualised staff and hundreds of our great administration staff have been stuck on tenuous year to year contracts, some up to a decade.

‘’We need good, secure jobs at our university….It will help the learning environment for students and will provide economic stability to hundreds of local families.’’

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