Welcome to UniCasual, a workplace information portal for Australian casual academic staff.

Produced by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) this site contains details about your workplace rights, your obligations and those of your employers, and information on how NTEU can assist you. This website aims to help you find out what you need to know to survive as a casual, and provides practical tips as well as introductions to NTEU and CAPA.

To find your local NTEU Branch, click here.

Latest news

  1. Insecure Work Conference | 19-20 November | Hobart

    Posted 26 September 2014 by Amber Jacobus (University of Western Sydney)

    The NTEU Insecure Work Conference will be held on Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 November 2014 at University of Tasmania.

    The conference has four objectives:

    1. To increase understanding of ...

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  2. NTEU Expert Seminar Series #2 - Off Track? Research Staff and Insecure Employment in Australia

    Posted 25 September 2014 by Helena Spyrou (NTEU National Office)

    Off Track? Research Staff and Insecure Employment in Australia

    Thursday 9 October 2014

    6:30 drinks for 7:00pm

    FEU Building, Ground Floor, 120 Clarendon St, Southbank VIC Take light rail 96 (Crown ...

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  3. Survey of casual and fixed term contract academics

    Posted 6 August 2014 by edXpress (edXpress)

    The NTEU is conducting this survey of casual and fixed term contract academics who are teaching undergraduate or postgraduate subjects delivered partly or fully online in an Australian university or ...

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  4. NTEU Expert Seminar: Casualisation – global and Australian trends

    Posted 6 August 2014 by edXpress (edXpress)

    By Helena Spyrou

    On Thursday 3 July, the NTEU hosted the first of its series of NTEU Expert Seminars. Australian academic Robyn May (currently working at Melbourne University) talked with National ...

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  5. Notice of Dispute - SCU College unlawfully attempt to increase casual pool

    Posted 4 August 2014 by Lisa Roberts (Southern Cross University)

    NTEU SCU branch have raised a dispute in relation to the SCU College unlawfully expanding its pool of casuals. Recently SCU College management informed staff employed in the PSP programme ...

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  6. Precarious Academic Labour Campaigns: News from Abroad

    Posted 28 July 2014 by Jen T. Kwok (Uni Casual)

    Welcome to a new section of Connect, highlighting  amazing campaigns being conducted by higher education trade unions, professional associations and activist organisations around the world. Here is a snapshot of what’s happening in 2014.

    Canada

    The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) flagship national campaign is Fair Employment Week, held at the end of October each year.  For Fair Employment Week 2013, CAUT created a designated website (www.fairemploymentweek.ca), containing various campaign resources and an open letter to university and college presidents calling for an end to the casualisation and exploitation of academic staff in Canada. This year, CAUT aims to hold a number of town hall events during Fair Employment Week across the country.

    Fair Employment Week allows CAUT and its member associations to join with a coalition of unions and activists across North America to organise events to highlight the overuse and exploitation of contract academic staff. From using petitions and posters, to handing out peanuts, academic staff associations have used a variety of creative tactics to inform students, colleagues and the public about the prevalence and working conditions of academics in contingent appointments, who have lower pay, less job security and fewer rights than their tenure-track colleagues, and to advocate for improving those

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  7. CAPA President: Postgrads shocked by Budget cuts

    Posted 28 July 2014 by Paul Clifton (Uni Casual)

    Hello Casuals and Postgrads. As we enter Semester Two, the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) is actively responding to the Federal Budget with a national campaign that targets the Senate as well as universities – and we would love to see you get involved.

    A number of decisions made in the 2014-15 Federal Budget will have a profound effect on the postgraduate and casual community.  The response by CAPA to the Federal Budget focused on a range of issues including the equity ‘grants’ that students will foot the bill for themselves, as well as the 6 per cent interest rate which will slam students who continue on to postgraduate study, pricing them out of HELP repayment for several years as their debt grows. But it is the cut of $173 million to the Research Training Scheme, and the decision to allow universities to charge PhD and Masters by Research students HELP fees for the first time, that has rocked the postgraduate community the

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  8. Pyne’s vision for higher ed in Australia: What does it mean for casualisation of academic work?

    Posted 28 July 2014 by Paul Clifton (Uni Casual)

    Education Minister Christopher Pyne has been quoted saying how Australia has much to learn from the US when it comes to higher education, about ‘student choice, competition and a culture of philanthropy’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 28 April 2014). Just how this might look for academic staff in Australia, who are already subject to high levels of job insecurity, was unsurprisingly not part of the Education Minister’s glowing recommendations.

    A quick look at how academic staff are faring in the US gives little comfort for what Pyne’s vision might look like for employment in the sector. Whilst the US higher education system is a complex mix of public and private providers, state based universities and high status research intense universities, and not directly comparable with Australia, what stands out is the very heavy reliance on insecurely employed academic staff.

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  9. CASA asks: Do casuals belong on campus?

    Posted 24 July 2014 by Paul Clifton (Uni Casual)

    This last midwinter conference season, we saw again that Australian higher education likes to hold major professional development and networking events while remaining silent on the existence of the majority of its academic workforce. What should academic casuals do: wait to be invited in? 

    We started the CASA blog at the beginning of this year as an ‘online home for casual, adjunct, sessional staff and their allies’ in response to silences like this. Firstly we wanted to come up with a way to have the conversations that were left off the agenda: overlooking the large and increasing contribution of casual academic workers to Australian higher education is to the detriment of the entire sector. For example, to talk about the first year university experience without putting casuals front and centre is to miss the elephant in that particular kitchen by quite some

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  10. Things I wish I'd known about alt-ac: The Research Whisperer

    Posted 23 July 2014 by Paul Clifton (Uni Casual)

    When I was first approached to write this article for Connect, I felt compelled to present a stats-ridden view of why thinking about alternative academic (alt-ac) pathways was not only possible, but necessary. 

    What I’ve ended up writing, though, is what I wish I’d been told about alt-ac career paths when I was at various job decision points in my life. 

    While stats can be good to give an overview of the sector, they don’t help when it comes to making highly personal and contextualised decisions about what you choose to do. 

    I have been to and fro several times between being an academic and professional administrative staff. Some of those jobs were by choice, and some were forced by circumstance.  A continuing academic position is often thought of as the traditional ‘destination’ for a PhD student. It varies from discipline to discipline, with some – like those in engineering - particularly bemused by many disciplines’ dependency on the academy for a

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