Members of the Tertiary Education Union at the University of Canterbury have reacted with anger and dismay to the latest change proposal in which fifty-eight staff positions are targeted for disestablishment. Thirty-five of these positions are in the university’s libraries.
It is the opinion of members that the roles proposed in place of those marked for redundancy do little to consolidate the expertise and institutional knowledge that are a hallmark of the work done at this university. The proposed replacement of the professional librarians who lead the university’s libraries with Centre Manager roles is of particular concern, as is the Vice-Chancellor’s as-yet-untested claim that the ongoing employment of senior librarians would occur at the cost of academic jobs elsewhere in the university.
The Tertiary Education Union has represented its members throughout the submissions process associated with the multiple change proposals under Project STAR. It has worked not only in defence of members’ positions but also of members’ own vision for the university. Its views are informed by the deep expertise and experience of its members, from new staff who have joined the university from other institutions to those who have served the Canterbury community for many decades.
It is the view of the union that the labour force of a large public institution such as the University of Canterbury is an asset, not a liability, and that positive outcomes for the future are best achieved by treating it as such.