11 May 202011 June 2020 The university / open letter Graduate student workers support NTEU Day of Action: fund our universities, no job cuts, universal and automatic extensions for HDR students! Editorial team Calling all campus workers and students. All can sign this to show we are building solidarity with each other across the university sector nationally. We, the undersigned, are graduate student workers: higher degree research students, PhD and MPhil/MA candidates, both domestic and international students. Many of us are casual and sessional workers at our universities. Without our research and labour, universities do not function. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, countless numbers of graduate student workers have lost their jobs. Many have experienced unprecedented disruptions to their research, work and study due to closures of key research facilities and resources, cancellation of research trips, inadequate working from home arrangements, increased caring responsibilities, and major mental and physical health impacts. The situation is particularly grim for HDR students who do not receive stipends and international students and migrant workers, the latter, unable to access the federal government’s COVID-19 support packages, are left in complete financial limbo. Despite the severity of the situation, universities have refused to grant universal extensions to candidatures, and ignored students’ demands for adequate COVID-19 support, putting the imperatives of budgetary austerity above the well-being of their students. Recently, the government has announced several temporary measures that will allow universities to extend Research Training Programs (RTPs) by up to six months. At present, the Australian Government provides funding for all universities to extend candidature and stipends for up 4.5 years (and 2.5. years for MA/MPhil students). Universities have the capacity to look after everyone. Yet they prefer to feign normality and withhold students’ stipends rather than providing the support that we all need. Automatic and universal extensions now! All graduate student workers face compelling and unexpected circumstances beyond their control due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All graduate student workers, domestic and international, are entitled to automatic extensions to their candidatures and stipends. Over 600 Melbourne University staff and students, including 80 supervisors, have already signed onto an open letter demanding Universal Extensions. We support the NTEU National Day of Action on 21 May to demand for universal extensions and in support of higher education jobs and courses. Students and staff — both casual and ongoing — rely on a well-resourced education sector. The disappearance of job security affects us all. When HDR and casuals’ conditions are reduced, so are the working conditions for all academic and professional staff. We will be stronger if we fight back together. As part of a united campaign to save every university job threatened by tertiary austerity during the coronavirus crisis. We demand: – That universities provide automatic and universal six-month extensions for PhD candidatures, with equivalent extensions for MPhil/MA students – That the government fund the shortfall in funding to provide resources for all HDRs – Save every job in the sector – no cuts to pay and conditions – That JobSeeker be extended to all students and JobKeeper extended to all campus workers – international, migrant and domestic. – That the government expand housing support for all international students We urge all HDR students to join the NTEU, which is currently providing free membership for postgraduate students and casual workers. We will support actions by fellow NTEU members throughout the sector, including organising media campaigns and taking industrial action. If we fight together we can win. We stand in solidarity with all university workers, from casuals to cleaners and call centre staff. Restore our university community. Organisation endorsements: National Higher Education Casuals Networks National Higher Education Action Network Individuals: Amber Karanikolas, Latrobe University Judith McVey, University of Sydney Cam Lawrence, University of Sydney Shan Windscript, University of Melbourne Anna Hush, UNSW Tash Heenan, University of Sydney Anna Sturman, University of Sydney Josie Reade, University of Melbourne Ainslee Meredith, University of Melbourne Daniel Cotton, University of Sydney Rosie Joy Barron, University of Melbourne Steph Houghton, La Trobe University Katie Wykes, Swinburne University Michael Pearson, ACU Karina Gutierrez, Flinders University Robin Keegan-Trelaoar, Flinders University Nicola Joseph, UNSW Gemma Beale, Flinders University Eva Birch, Melbourne University Alasdair Kempton, Monash University Max Bledstein, UNSW May Majimbi, Curtin University Jake Franklin, La Trobe University Jimmy Yan, Melbourne University Dashie Prasad, University of Technology, Sydney Paul Clifford, Curtin University Lauren Murphy, La Trobe Matilda Fay, University of Technology, Sydney Jesse Martin, La Trobe University Ruby Wawn , University of Technology, Sydney Kynan Tan, UNSW George Papadopoulos, University of Sydney Frances Clarke, University of Sydney Niall Edwards-FitzSimons, Sydney Conservatorium of Music/University of Sydney Connor Jolley, RMIT Ian Anderson; RMIT Catherine Weiss, RMIT James Burgmann-Milner, Monash University Polly Bennett, Victoria University, RMIT University James Watson, Australian National University Lisa de Kleyn, RMIT University Rowena Lennox, University of Technology Sydney Kerry Ryan, Swinburne University of Technology Nick Pelley, Swinburne Postgrads for Fair Pay, University of Sydney Rosalind Bellamy, La Trobe University Zsuzsanna Ihar, University of Sydney Clare Arthurs, Swinburne Dimity Hawkins AM, Swinburne University of Technology Julie Kimber, Swinburne University of Technology Finn Bryson, University of Sydney For further information contact: Judy McVey: Ph:/Txt 0418347374, Email: email@example.com Or leave a comment below to have your name added to the signatories. We are inviting all students and staff across the university sector to sign, not just HDRs. Editorial team More by Editorial team Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 8 September 202220 September 2022 open letter Authors stand with Readings booksellers for a living wage Editorial team Readings can afford to pay a living wage to its workers. This is a multi-store business that, until 2021, posted profits for 25 consecutive years, and which in the past year has spent considerable amounts of money opening both a new store branch and a warehouse, without consulting workers. As authors, we stand in solidarity with the booksellers at Readings in their fight for fair pay and conditions. 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