Wage theft campaign – piece rates
Casualisation and wage theft are part of university business models.
It’s time to change the system.
Understanding the dispute
In June 2022, Deakin served a dispute on Deakin contesting the underpayment of casual staff for marking activities. Our case was based on surveys of casual staff which found that many casual staff members were working at least an additional free hour for every hour they were paid to mark.
The dispute is based on ‘piece rates’. Causal teaching staff are told to use a formula to determine the amount of hours they should spend marking an assignent, rather than paid for the hours it takes to do the work. They are prevented from claiming beyond these hours, either explicitly or through tacit coercion. This amounts to being paid piece rate: an amount paid per assignment marked, rather than hours worked.
And its a breach of our Enterprise Agreement.
Deakin has maintained that all instances of underpayment are the result of individual rather than systemic problems with the University’s payment systems.
We know this isn’t true. And we have the evidence to prove it.
Our campaign is ongoing and ramping up.
The cost of wage theft
- Are you a casual/sessional staff paid at a fixed “piece rate” that may not reflect the time it takes to actually mark student assignments? (e.g. 4000 words per hour, or a maximum time allocation per assignment)
- Are you a casual/sessional staff directed on how to claim your hours? (e.g. You are provided a formula to calculate your hours worked for marking)
- Do these directions reflect the actual hours you work?
In respect of marking, casual staff are owed for every hour they work. If you are a casual/sessional staff and answered “yes” to some or all the above questions then you are likely being paid a piece rate in breach of the Enterprise Agreement, which means you may be eligible for back-pay.
The NTEU can only represent members.
Resources and news coverage
“Deakin University may be forced to fork out millions in backpay,” Geelong Advertiser, 21 June 2022 – Michaela Meade
“Union launches dispute with Deakin University over payments for casuals,” The Guardian, 22 June 2022 – Adeshola Ore
“NTEU alleges Deakin University committed “systematic wage theft,” Honi Soit, 27 June 2022 – Luke Cass
“Claim lodged at Deakin as NTEU says wage theft is ‘endemic’ across sector,” Campus Review, 27 June 2022 – Emilie Lauer
“NTEU alleges Deakin University committed ‘systematic wage theft‘”, Australian Payroll, 10 July 2022 – Australian Payroll Association
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