LA TROBE University has rejected claims staff will be underpaid in 2021 due to changes to piece rates.
La Trobe Casuals Network's convener Anastasia Kanjere said the university indicated tutors would only be paid for 45 minutes of marking per student, per semester in 2021.
Dr Kanjere said up to 95 per cent of casual and permanent workers would be paid significantly less under the changes.
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But a La Trobe spokesperson said the university would not be capping marking hours to 45 minutes.
"There is a general guide about marking hours in the Academic Workload Planning model that states the minimum is 45 minutes, not the maximum," the spokesperson said.
"The university's focus is on providing high quality feedback to students through assessment.
"In some cases - such as in subjects that involve assessment of a thesis, capstone subject, or a large creative work - it is a common practice across different schools in the university to allocate higher marking allocations to teaching staff, in recognition of this complexity."
The spokesperson said the university released the guidelines for feedback in July, but that allocated marking times had not changed.
"After an extensive review of the feedback, we incorporated a number of changes, including the component of student support included in teaching," the spokesperson said.
But Dr Kanjere said piece rates were a longstanding issue for workers in higher education.
"In the tertiary sector, it almost always happens that tutors are given a certain amount of time to mark assignments," Dr Kanjere said. "That amount is always far too little and staff end up working for free.
"The 45 minutes is completely unfair and will adversely affect the condition of staff and students as well. If you think about it, do students want that little attention given to their development?"
Dr Kanjere said the La Trobe Casuals Network wanted the system to be redesigned, with staff to be paid for the hours they worked rather than by piece rates.
"It sounds really obvious but it's a huge industrial battle," she said.
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