More than a dozen Australian universities have been publicly accused of underpaying staff. Some have paid millions in backpay after audits. And a big factor in wage theft is the rise of casualisation.
Teaching loads, family responsibilities and lack of research resources and mentors have hampered the progress of women in universities. And when the pandemic hit, it made the situation worse.
Three decades ago, in another time of upheaval in higher education, 7% of working-age Australians had a degree. Today 33% have one. More people than ever have a stake in what happens to universities.
Decades of legislative change made the councils that govern universities more like corporate boards and less accountable to academic communities. The problems this created are coming home to roost.
The early and mid-career researchers who bear most of the teaching and research workload are exhausted and underpaid. Many won't survive the funding squeeze, but Australia can't afford to lose them.
Universities have financial resources — property, bequests and philanthropic funds, and access to lines of credit — they can access rather than forcing staff to sacrifice their jobs.
Are the Australian government’s successive changes to JobKeeper specifically designed to exclude universities? And if so, why?
The National Tertiary Education Union has agreed to a deal with universities that aims to save at least 12,000 jobs. But universities aren't obliged to sign up.