Hi, I'm Fahad

I’m a casual academic in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney. My background is in molecular and computational genetics, and my current research focus is the impact of the human gut microbiome on response to cancer immunotherapy.

In the past year alone, I’ve worked across nine different teaching units. My work has encompassed curriculum development, exam auditing and subject administration, as well as lecturing, tutoring, running labs, and marking. Throughout this I’ve earned just under the minimum wage due to unpaid work and piece rates. I have no sick leave and no job security. Despite my drive, passion, and performance in my role, I am increasingly unable to see a viable path for myself towards ongoing work in the university sector. I am also acutely aware that even ongoing work, whether it is professional or academic, is not secure – overwork, poor conditions and regular redundancies are now standard practice in Australian universities.

My situation isn’t unusual, but our union does not reflect the new reality of the intensifying struggles that workers in universities experience on a daily basis. We need strong, effective leadership that’s unafraid to challenge power and will speak to the brutal realities that so many staff are currently living.

We can’t pretend that these issues emerged yesterday; our sector has been in decline for many years, and there is no end in sight. We cannot wait for others to come to our rescue. Government won’t, Universities Australia won’t, and university leadership certainly won’t. Only we can fight for the future of our sector, and fight we must.

A strong and democratic union should be led by a team that reflects the membership and the workers in that sector. As a migrant worker from a working class background, I’m conscious that plummeting wages and ever-dwindling possibilities of secure employment affect workers like me first, and that they eventually affect everyone. The worse conditions get, the less the pursuit of university work – or even tertiary education – will be a possibility for people who don’t have a strong financial safety net to fall back on. I value diversity in education and in our institutions and I want to fight so that universities remain places for all regardless of their background.

I’m an experienced and effective organiser and advocate with an extensive background in representing tough causes to the media and government. I’m community-focused and have brought people together to build consensus on difficult issues. I know that we have a lot of work to do. We need to build a union that represents all university workers, and one that all members can be proud of. A union of workers that builds the power to directly take on university management and win. A union that stands up against discrimination wherever it occurs. And we need to get serious about effective modern campaigning and digital tools that support, not hinder, local ground campaigns.

We have to build the power to reverse our universities’ decline, but to do this we need a new dynamic leadership. Vote for me as National President and choose A New NTEU.