“A disgrace”: Deakin University admits to multi-million dollar wage theft

“A disgrace”: Deakin University admits to multi-million dollar wage theft
Image: AAP Image/James Ross

Deakin University has today admitted to engaging in multi-million dollar wage theft after denying underpaying staff for two years.

Management revealed the underpayments in an all-staff email, which the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) estimates could exceed $10 million.

Some individuals were underpaid more than $45,000.

NTEU Victorian Division Secretary Sarah Roberts said, “Deakin management’s refusal to admit a clear-cut case of wage theft for two whole years is a disgrace.”

“As late as February this year, management was still insisting the piece rate used to fleece workers didn’t exist – despite staff presenting rock solid evidence.”

“This humiliating admission is a huge win for brave NTEU members at Deakin who have been on a two-year journey to expose this shocking conduct.”

Two years ago, in June 2022, the NTEU lodged a dispute with Deakin management, alleging systemic underpayments of sessional staff for marking. The case was then referred to the Fair Work Commission in November that year.

The university then reported itself to the Fair Work Ombudsman over underpayments in just two of its schools, despite evidence of wage theft across the organisation.

“Unfortunately, Deakin has only fessed up to stealing wages in two schools, but we won’t rest until this entire systematic scandal is fully exposed and every cent owed repaid,” said Ms Roberts.

The news comes one day after the University of Queensland admitted to $8 million in wage theft.

NTEU National President Dr Alison Barnes said “We need to end the insecure work crisis and implement a proper governance system if we’re serious about having the universities Australia deserves.”

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