Uni wage theft report a wake-up call for government


Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has said that a new NTEU report on $83 million of stolen wages at universities was a wake-up call for the federal government.

Attributable to Senator Mehreen Faruqi:

“These numbers are shocking but not surprising. Wage theft has been widespread and systemic in higher education, and I’ve pushed the investigation of this in a number of Senate inquiries.

“The link between wage theft and casualisation is undeniable. Not everyone who is underpaid at our universities is a casual, but if you’re a casual you are at much higher risk of having your wages stolen. 

“The brutal reality is that the corporate university of today can only function on the back of the unpaid labour of thousands of casual staff. That must change.

“It’s time to get serious about tackling both wage theft and casualisation at our universities. I’m glad last week the Government confirmed that these issues are being looked at as part of the Universities Accord, but this shouldn’t prevent action right now. Staff have suffered the scourge of job insecurity, overwork and underpay for too long.

“The government should require universities to set publicly-available targets for increasing permanent employment, and link this to funding. There should be clearer reporting requirements with respect to employment statistics and improved rights of entry for trade unions.

“Moreover, our universities are in desperate need of a massive investment of public funding after years of neglect, and we need an overhaul of university governance to shift the balance of power from university management back to staff and students.”