Anxiety is high at Manukau Institute of Technology with every department and faculty announcing “rightsizing” reviews over the next fortnight. The chief executive announced in September that he would undertake reviews across the whole polytechnic, starting with the senior leadership team. But it is only now, at the busiest time of the academic year for many, that he is announcing which staff the restructuring will affect.
There is a sombre mood among TEU members. At one meeting where the dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Trades announced his proposal to cut 17 positions, a Price Waterhouse Coopers representative, who is ‘assisting’ in the restructuring, greeted the dean with an expressive thumbs-up as members were leaving the meeting, adding insult to injury.
As well as the 17 job losses in Engineering and Trades (after already losing seven last year), there are six proposed job losses in the Faculty of Business (after already losing 12 at the end of 2010), and five in Nursing and Health Studies. Several faculties are still waiting for their announcements. TEU is not aware of what these announcements will entail other than beingbeen advised that Human Resources is one of the few areas flagged for increased staffing.
TEU is conducting a survey about the reviews, the responses to which are clearly demonstrating members’ anger and frustration with both the process and content of the “rightsizing” project.
“It is chaos at MIT at the moment,” said Chan Dixon, TEU organiser, “and unfortunately members do not have a high degree of faith that the three-week consultation period will bring any positive changes.”
Two key frustrations are that the reviews are based on a reduced budget in each Faculty, which is not open for consultation, and that one of the key factors ‘informing’ the proposals is the ITP sector Tribal Data, which TEU members are not being provided on the grounds of confidentiality. TEU members are meeting with the chief executive on Friday to discuss these issues.