University of Wollongong academic staff have committed to campaign for better pay and conditions.

A National Tertiary Education Union forum held university today explored the fight for job security, and consistent and fair pay for staff.

UTS Branch President of the National Tertiary Education Union Vince Caughley told UOW staff to push to get their voices heard, and pointed to strike action over pay and casualisation at UTS last October.

“Casualisation is a massive issue at UTS and UOW. There are 8000 staff here (UTS) and 5000 of them don’t have permanent positions — they are either casual or on short-term contracts,” Mr Caughley said.

“We followed in University of Sydneys steps in this respect. University of Wollongong needs to roll this out too if staff want flexibility, equity and fair pay.”

Mr Caughley said 73 per cent of UTS staff had unsecured employment, the same amount as fast food chain McDonald’s. UOW staff protested against casualisation last year, with employment data showing 75 per cent of the university’s academic staff, almost 6000 employees in 2016, were either on casual or fixed term contracts.

University of Sydney Associate Professor Damien Cahill said the NTEU was an important resource that was effective when used appropriately.

“This is empowering them to help themselves by building a network of activists and delegates. Once people see that working with the union becomes effective, they are more open to do something more substantial,” he said.

UOW staff who attended the meeting left with knowledge on successful campaigns.

“It’s so University of Wollongong staff can try to implement some of those ideas in our current campaign,” NTEU Branch Organiser Martin Cubby said.

Mr Cubby said the key issues for staff at the University of Wollongong were job security, wage growth beyond the inflation rate, and university respect for the work they do.