VAHPA stands in solidarity with National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members taking strike action across Victoria and nationally.

This week and next, union members from the University of Melbourne, RMIT and Monash University are striking for better conditions and for a public tertiary education that our society deserves.

These workers join NTEU members from Deakin University, Federation University, La Trobe and Swinburne who have undertaken historic and unprecedented strike and other protected industrial actions throughout 2023. These strikes come after breakdowns in the bargaining process to demand the working conditions necessary to uphold the social good that is publicly funded education.

Our tertiary education sector has been undermined by decades of deliberate under-resourcing, where the business model of the sector is based on the exploitation of vulnerable staff through insecure work, creating one of the most precarious industries to work in today.

Our wealthiest and most prestigious institutions have been found guilty of wage theft while their Vice Chancellors earn seven-figure salaries. These figures are far greater than the pay of politicians and VCs around the world with many of the senior executive staff making high six-figure salaries.

This staggering pay discrepancy comes at a time when Universities are crying poor. Nearly all Universities have cut staff through forced redundancies claiming that essential teaching, research and administration staff must bear the brunt for a top-heavy executive that blames the workers for the crisis they created.

This, in turn, diminishes teaching, research and learning outcomes and erodes the collective good of public education. The attacks on all levels of public education undermines the social fabric upon which we all rely.

As the NTEU says, “staff working conditions are student learning conditions”, just as Allied Health working conditions are critical to patient outcomes.The best working conditions are therefore vital for those tertiary educators shaping the future Allied Health workforce.

VAHPA stands in solidarity with NTEU members and their ongoing struggle and strike action. These strikes are a critical part of the industrial process and show what is possible when an immense collective voice demands dignity.