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What you need to know about the planned strike on campus

Industrial action is scheduled to take place at the University on 31 March and 5 April

Keep an eye on Canvas for notifications about how your classes are affected by industrial action on Friday 31 March and Wednesday 5 April.


Impact of industrial action on census date

We are aware that Friday 31 March is census date, which may be a stressful time for some students. The Student Centre will be closed for in-person enquiries, but you can still get in touch by submitting an online enquiry or calling 1800 SYD UNI (1800 793 864). 

If you have questions about census date, please contact the Student Centre as early as possible. If you need wellbeing support, please reach out to our student wellbeing team.


What is an Enterprise Agreement? 

Enterprise agreements are part of Australia’s industrial relations system, and they govern the pay and conditions of employees at particular organisations (or enterprises). Most enterprise agreements are for a term of three to four years, at which point the employer and staff representatives negotiate for a new agreement. The University of Sydney is currently in negotiations for a new Enterprise Agreement with staff representatives from the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU).

The University of Sydney has some of the best wages and conditions of any university in Australia. We are proposing an Enterprise Agreement that will maintain and enhance our conditions, create more flexibility for our academics to pursue careers that are aligned with their strengths and interests, and create more secure jobs.

What is a strike? 

A strike, sometimes referred to as protected industrial action, is when workers withdraw their labour as a negotiating tactic in bargaining. While the University is disappointed that the NTEU has chosen to take industrial action, we recognise the rights of NTEU members to participate.

University is a place where ideas can be freely discussed, and a place where you are free to express yourself and to protest or disagree, provided that this is done so safely and in accordance with our policies and the law. Students and the University both have obligations to ensure that our campus is one where different views can be debated and expressed respectfully, consistent with our Student Charter. Behaviour that is intimidating, abusive, disrespectful or threatening is not acceptable and is not tolerated on our campuses.

What does this mean for my classes? 

Most classes will be moved to online delivery on the strike days. It is possible that some classes will be cancelled if your lecturer or tutor takes strike action, in which case the University will do our best to let you know as far in advance as possible. All buildings, including libraries and study spaces, will require swipe access during industrial action, so if you intend to come to campus please bring your student card with you.

Students who wish not to attend class or complete assessments on these dates should notify their unit of study coordinator as soon as possible in the usual way. Where possible, students will not be disadvantaged. Make sure you check Canvas and your University email account regularly for the latest information. 

I'm a higher degree by research student, what does this mean for me? 

The planned strike days will also impact higher degree by research (HDR) students. You may have difficulty accessing facilities you regularly use on campus for your research, such as the library and laboratories. If your supervisor is choosing to strike, meetings with them may be cancelled and they may not respond to emails or phone calls on the days. If they are not striking, it is likely that any meetings will be moved online.

You should plan to conduct your research from home on Friday 31 March and Wednesday 5 April, if possible. If you have essential research activities that need to be conducted on campus on the strike days, such as feeding animals or maintaining equipment, you should read through the further information on this page and seek advice from your supervisor as early as you can.

What do I do if I come across a picket line?

A picket line is a common element of strike action, where union members gather near entrances to campus, often with signs and banners, and may distribute flyers and other materials. 

It’s important to understand that protesters may speak to students and staff at the picket lines about why they are striking, but it is unlawful for them to prevent access to campus spaces. If you are unsure of what is acceptable picket line behaviour, you might like to read the NTEU’s Guidelines for Picketers. We expect everyone coming to campus to behave respectfully: any behaviour that jeopardises the safety of others is unacceptable.

In the interests of safety, we encourage you not to attempt to force a path through a physical picket line. Protective Services will have a presence at the picket lines to help ensure safety and redirect you to alternative entrances and exits. While Protective Services will not assist anyone to cross a physical picket line, they are available as a point of escalation for reporting any incidents, and to assist you with accessing appropriate support in the event of an incident.

Will my cancelled class be rescheduled? 

It is up to individual academics to decide whether or not classes cancelled as part of industrial action will be rescheduled, but it is most likely that any cancelled classes will not be rescheduled. 

What does this mean for my exams and assessments? 

The University has asked staff who are participating in industrial action to ensure that students’ exams and assessments will not be adversely affected by any class cancellations. 

What should I do if I feel unsafe on campus?

If you feel unsafe on campus, please call Protective Services on +61 2 9351 3487 or use the emergency help points.

If you have experienced an instance of assault (verbal or physical) call 000. ​

Once you are in a safe place, report the event to Student Wellbeing by calling 1800 SYD HLP (1800 793 457) or emailing student.wellbeing@sydney.edu.au

The University also provides counselling through the Student Counselling Service +2 8627 8433, that can be accessed if you require support.  

Last updated: 29 March 2023

28 April 2022

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