Wage theft and casual work are built into university business models


Academic rigour, journalistic flair

Richard Milnes/Newzulu

Wage theft and casual work are built into university
business models
October 27, 2020 5.46am AEDT

The COVID crisis has exposed the destructive consequences of an over-reliance on


casual labour across the economy. Australian universities provide one of the clearest
examples of this. For the past two decades, universities have leaned into
international student fees on the revenue side and casual workers on the expense

Damien Cahill
Associate Professor, Department of

This approach effectively shifted the risks of the international student fee market

Political Economy, University of Sydney

onto insecurely employed staff with few entitlements or employment rights. Since the
pandemic caused international student fee revenue to dry up, thousands of casual
university staff have lost their jobs.

Read more: More than 70% of academics at some universities are casuals. They're
losing work and are cut out of JobKeeper

This is a devastating consequence of the business model of universities intersecting with the federal
government’s ideological aversion to universities accessing JobKeeper.


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