University of Queensland staff suffer ‘staggering’ $8m wage theft

Media Release
28 May 2024 

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has demanded urgent reform after the University of Queensland (UQ) became the latest university embroiled in a multi-million dollar wage theft scandal.

In an email to staff on Monday, UQ management revealed $7.88 million was underpaid to 9743 staff over a seven-year period between January 2017 and December 2023.

The underpayments relate to minimum hours of engagement for casual academic and casual professional staff and the use of a lower pay rate for casual academic staff with a relevant PhD.

More than 110,000 university staff across Australia have had wages stolen from them in recent years.

NTEU Queensland Secretary Michael McNally said:
“The scale of the wage theft at UQ is staggering. Nearly 10,000 of UQ’s lowest-paid staff have lost on average around $800, during a cost-of-living crisis. The VC has apologised unreservedly, but that won’t compensate the casuals who couldn’t pay their bills.”

“No mention is made of the impact of the continual reorganisation and cutting of support and admin staff, who support the university’s key operations. The inference is this all just ‘computer error’”

“The national wage theft tally at universities has now eclipsed $180 million – it’s a staggering and shameful number that demands urgent change.”

“Federal and state governments must act on the failure of university governance failures and the consequent explosion in insecure work that has fostered the wage theft crisis in universities.

“Without major reform through the Universities Accord response, we will see more higher education staff having wages and entitlements stolen.”

Media contacts: 
Michael McNally 0423 538 721 / Matt Coughlan 0400 561 480

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