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Austerity and Industrial Relations in Universities: Impacts and Responses in the Eye of a Pandemic Storm

16 Nov 2021 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm (AEDT GMT+11:00)

This webinar was presented by the Sydney Employment Relations Research Group (SERRG), and the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand.


Dr Alison Barnes
National President of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU)

Dr Sandra Grey
National Secretary of Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union (TEU)

The global pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on tertiary education. The closure of campuses and national borders to international students, and transition to digital and hybrid modes of learning in response to Covid-19 outbreaks, has disrupted higher education and created a climate of uncertainty and insecurity for those working in universities. The collapse of once secure international student revenue streams, ambiguity concerning future student enrolments and reduced public funding has prompted the restructuring of the sector, resulting in substantial job losses and erosion of work conditions. Reports show that women have been disproportionally impacted, and for many early career academics, the future is increasingly uncertain.

These changes raise important questions for the future of work and industrial relations in higher education. To understand developments within tertiary education and explore how best to respond to current challenges, the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ), in partnership with the Sydney Employment Relations Research Group (SERRG), have invited leaders of the trade unions representing higher education workers in New Zealand and Australia to discuss the impact and implications of the Covid-19 pandemic and potential paths to recovery. This webinar aims to pinpoint the challenges that higher education workers now face and identify potential responses to the current crisis and beyond.


Dr Alison Barnes, Dr Sandra Grey

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