The employment of academics in the ACT is becoming increasingly precarious, the academic staff union has told the Independent Inquiry into Insecure Work in Australia hearing in Canberra.
The ACT Division Secretary of the National Tertiary Education Union, Stephen Darwin estimates less than 40 per cent of ACT academics are permanently employed and universities were now a significant site of insecure work.
Mr Darwin told the committee yesterday that the increasingly widespread ''contingent employment'', was the result of increasing management demands for constant high-level research output.
He raised concerns that both the ANU and the University of Canberra may seek to use such punishing research expectations to provide an unreasonable justification for terminating the employment of academic staff on fixed-term contracts.
Mr Darwin said, ''most of these targeted staff are early career academics who are desperately trying to balance the demands of complex teaching and research expectations, whilst trying to maintain a reasonable work-life balance''.
He also said there was clear evidence that these demands are becoming even more unreasonable in ACT universities.
''The NTEU locally is dealing with an increasing number of cases of supervisors demanding extraordinary research performance, causing enormous stress for individuals and undermining their ability to undertake a full range of academic activities, most notably quality teaching,'' he said. Emma Macdonald