Make no mistake, we University of Sydney staff are now in the forefront of what will become an intensifying battle against corporatisation and privatisation. The government pays for students to be educated in Commonwealth Supported Places, but universities complain that the unit cost exceeds the money available. To corporate eyes, it represents that most valuable of commodities: a guaranteed revenue stream of public money, with a public-sector service provider sorely in need of competition.
Meanwhile, recent pronouncements from senior management have stripped away the pretence of unaffordability in respect of our modest pay claim – staff remuneration and working conditions are simply a lower priority than building up the University’s ‘capital stock’ of physical infrastructure, and (thereby) making the ‘balance sheet’ more attractive. The dispute is being run, from the management side, by a Senate committee of three ministerial appointees with ‘boiler-plate’ backgrounds from the right wing of the corporate sector – management accountancy, engineering and commodities.
As horizons shrink on the mining bonanza of recent years, Australian capital will be implicitly in search of new fields in which to garner high returns. Couple that with a doctrinaire right wing government, and one can imagine the rest. The ‘tabula rasa’ put forward by management at the outset of this dispute, as the proposed new Enterprise Agreement can be seen as an outrider, along with the move by managers at Curtin University to oblige academics to re-apply for their own jobs. That is why we have to hold the line.
It says here.