More than 1,000 staff at Massey University have been invited to express an interest in quitting their jobs, raising fears that the institution could be restructuring by stealth.
Massey university management sent letters to more than 1,000 staff in the Colleges of Science and Health at the end of last month inviting them to take voluntary redundancy in a bid to slash staff costs.
A similar letter was then sent to staff working in the Office of Academic Assurance earlier this month. Massey management sent the letters as part of a plan to radically reduce staffing costs by $11.1 million next year.
A proposal for the future staffing structure of the university has not been published, and no prior warning about the letters was given to staff or their representative unions.
The exact number of jobs at risk is not known, leaving staff and students in the dark about the future of their place of work and study. However, according to the New Zealand Herald, a number of people have already taken up the offer. The TEU understands that the majority of these job losses will be approved by management, impacting significantly on the provision of courses, research capacity, other college staff and students.
The Tertiary Education Union (TEU) is calling on management to come clean about its plans and to avoid an exodus of staff that could put at risk the university’s reputation for world-class teaching and research.
Sandra Grey, national president of the TEU, said: “Enticing an unspecified number of people into leaving their jobs early is a flawed way to manage any organisation. Management needs to be honest about its plans and consult with staff and students so they have the opportunity to explain the damaging impact mass redundancies would have on the university.”
Nearly 800 permanent staff work in the College of Science across all three Massey campuses, with the College of Health employing close to 220 people
Staff that accept the enhanced voluntary severance offer have been asked to finish work before the end of the year, if possible.
The TEU has written to university management seeking compliance with contractual and other obligations to consult with staff over any proposed change to the structure of the colleges, and before any decision about redundancies is made.
“It is not fair for management to simply open the door to a mass exodus of staff without being clear to everyone affected, including those staff remaining what the future holds. It needs to be understood that once these jobs are lost, they are not coming back,” Grey said.