Otago University confirms job cuts

Posted By TEU on Oct 12, 2017 | 2 comments


Tertiary Update – Vol 20 No 30

The University of Otago confirmed today that 160 general staff positions will be cut as part of a massive shake-up in the way support services are delivered at the university.

The university announced this afternoon that it has decided to proceed with a shared services model, which will see services such as student advice and support from cut from individual departments and replaced with more standardised service delivered across the whole institution.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Harlene Hayne initially wanted to cut 182 jobs, but following consultation with union members fewer positions will now be lost.

The reduction in the number of job loses should not distract attention away from the fact that, after a lengthy development and consultation process, so little has changed.

“While we are of course pleased that there are fewer job losses as a result of the consultation process, the loss of 160 jobs is devastating for affected staff. We still have serious concerns about the impact these massive changes will have, and what this will ultimately mean for delivery of services currently provided by these staff,” Shaun Scott, organiser of the Tertiary Education Union branch at the University of Otago, said.

The TEU said the changes could have a huge impact on the quality of service required to maintain the University of Otago’s reputation for high quality teaching and learning, research and student support.

The two years it has taken to get to today’s announcement has also had a significant impact on staff stress levels, creating unnecessary anxiety and uncertainty.

“The process has impacted on the health and well-being of staff, with the uncertainty and threat to employment creating a highly stressful environment for them,” Scott added.

Some of the 2,300 full-time equivalent general staff employed by the university now face a further agonising wait to find out if their job will be one of the 162 to be cut. This is not expected to be known in full until mid-2018.

The TEU said Professor Hayne also has questions to answer about the timing of the announcement, which has been made during school holidays when many of the staff affected will be on leave.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. The path to change runs through our classrooms, labs, workshops, and lecture theatres
  2. Massey staff and students stand together for fair pay
  3. Unitec Chief Executive steps down
  4. Enrolments down as cost of living rises
  5. Institutions need to do more to support mental health
  6. Support Australia’s marriage equality YES campaign

Other news

The University of Otago Council has approved a 2 per cent increase in course fees and an 8 per cent hike in the compulsory service fee – ODT

The NZ-China Non-Communicable Diseases Research Collaboration Centre at the University of Otago has signed Memorandums of Understanding with three Shanghai institutions – Voxy

The Auckland University of Technology has opened a new clinical services hub – AUT

Navitas, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange has agreed to purchase Christchurch College of English, a private provider for overseas students based at the University of Canterbury – Stuff

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