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Communique #6 - On the USyd Strike, May 2022

The Revolutionary Communist Organisation extends its complete solidarity to university staff and students currently engaged in industrial struggle, particularly in Sydney. The current industrial struggle has its roots in the University of Sydney local of the NTEU organising for a strike action that took place over the 11th and 12th of May. These two days saw the effective shutdown of campus with staff and students organising pickets around the university entrances convincing most students and staff that came into contact with them, not to scab and to either go home or join the union pickets. Roving pickets also disrupted many classes on the day either preventing scab lessons or convincing those attending to join the strike. The RCO commends the comrades in this important struggle. Despite this, a minority of scab staff and knob-sticking students actively crossed picket lines, spitting in the face of their co- workers or educators. The RCO utterly condemns this strikebreaking. On the 11th of May one of these scabs assaulted a striking staff member, requiring them to go to hospital, a despicable attack. However, on the 12th of May this attack only inspired more militant action on the part of the comrades, with students forming hard pickets along many entrances to the campus repelling scabs from campus. Many scuffles broke out between scabs and students provoking police intervention to escort scabs onto campus, in typical fashion the bully-boys of the state escorting the knob-stickers into the workplace. The RCO condemns these cops and active scabs as both pets of the bosses.

While these two days of striking were a significant success, credit to the rank and file organising of the local NTEU, it is understood that the management of campus is stonewalling negotiations, prompting the NTEU to go organise another strike for the 24th of May. The RCO enthusiastically welcomes this action, we implore the comrades at USYD to organise for the strike as much as they are able and join on the picket lines on the 24th! We repeat the demands of the USYD NTEU here to remind comrades of the crucial reasons of why they are taking this action:

  • An end to forced redundancies;

  • Enforceable controls on workload for all staff;

  • Preservation of the right to a 40% research component in academic workloads;

  • An end to exploitative long-term casualisation;

  • Gender affirmation leave;

  • Recognition & improvement of work from home rights for professional staff;

  • An end to disruptive change management and performance review practices;

  • Enforceable targets for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander employment and;

  • A fair pay increase.

One of the most exciting consequences of the USYD strike has been the spreading of consciousness to other NTEU locals in Sydney. The University of Technology Sydney local has applied for a protected action ballot while the Western Sydney University local has voted on Friday 13th of May to take strike action. The RCO encourages this development and encourages the staff and student at these campuses to take example from the militancy of their USYD comrades! We join with all class conscious workers in leaping into this battle!

Universal, free primary, secondary, and tertiary education! For the socialisation of universities! Staff and students should democratically run the universities! Against the managerial tyranny of bourgeois bureaucrats! No one in! Shut the campuses down!

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