Government must act on shocking USyd wage theft revelations


Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Higher Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has responded to revelations that the University of Sydney has underpaid casual staff by an estimated $70.1 million as at 31 December 2023. This figure, which is contained in the University of Sydney’s 2023 Annual Report released yesterday, is significantly higher than previous estimates, with the University’s estimate from 31 December 2022 being $15 million.

The 2023 Annual Report also shows that University of Sydney Vice Chancellor Mark Scott earned a staggering remuneration package of $1,170,000 to $1,184,999.

Senator Faruqi said:

“Every cent owed to casual staff at the University of Sydney must be urgently paid back in full.

“A university system where Vice Chancellors earn well over $1 million a year, while casual staff are systemically robbed of wages and students graduate with a lifetime of debt is a broken system
“Federal and state governments must hold vice-chancellors accountable for the shocking epidemic of wage theft at universities, which is leaving workers millions of dollars out of pocket.
“Unfortunately, the Government’s University Accord report has failed to recommend the transformative changes we need to university governance to reverse the casualisation of the workforce and prevent future wage theft.

“Minister Clare and the Labor government must 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.

“Wage theft is part of the broken business model of the neoliberal university.”