A Statement Regarding Insecure Work in Higher Education

In the interest of fostering inclusivity, solidarity and community, the AAWP wishes, as an organisation, to make the following statement regarding the insecure nature of work in the current economic climate.

We acknowledge that the Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP) is one body but made up of individuals with diverse experiences and circumstances. We recognise that we live in times where ideas about work are undergoing rapid change and that previous expectations about employment security and professional advancement may no longer be assumed. This is impacting on our community in ways that are not desirable. Overwork, underpay, insecurity, and limited opportunities are just some of the negative effects of these changes in academic workload and employment. The diminishing support for other academic work that leads to a fulfilling career, such as research, supervision and campus service, are other noted effects. 

We also acknowledge that sessional, unsecured work as a long-term experience of academia is the difficult reality for many of our members, and we recognise that the stratification of secured and unsecured staff risks fostering inequalities and untenable power relationships on university campuses that do not best serve staff or students. We understand that these dynamics are not necessarily clearly identifiable.

Therefore, while we commit to nurturing just and sustainable professional communities, we advocate in the first instance for a time of listening to allow the experiences of our colleagues to come to the fore, so that any actions we take can be well-informed and respectful of the individuals most affected. 

We believe that a sustainable future for academia requires re-imagining the structure of our professional lives and the operation of our professional communities to ensure equality and well-being for everyone.

November 2019