TEU lobbying and campaigning has saved several programmes and nearly half the jobs originally proposed to be cut at Aoraki Polytechnic. However, TEU organiser Kris Smith says cutting programmes across its five campuses is the wrong decision. Aoraki was initially planning to cut twenty diplomas or certificates affecting 20 staff and hundreds of students.
The decision it announced this week means that six of those programmes will survive, as will nine jobs.
Ms Smith told the Timaru Herald staff were “gutted“.
“They think [the polytechnic has] made the wrong decisions, and it’s narrowing the focus too much.These foundation courses are exactly what the polytechnic should be doing,” she said.
Members were disappointed that the lower-level computing programmes in Timaru, Oamaru and Ashburton were not continuing next year, especially as there were no similar programmes in Oamaru and Ashburton, Ms Smith said. “We think they should have kept many more of the courses,” she said.
The Timaru Herald editorial was scathing of Aoraki’s management of the issue saying the chief executive Kay Nelson, “invoked the glorious language of modern management to assure the public the course trimming ‘will build stronger synergies between sport and fitness and outdoor recreation across our Christchurch and Timaru campuses’. We can’t wait to see them.”
“But something more is needed. The passage of a vote of no confidence in Ms Nelson by 110 union-member staffers early last month – and their call on her to enter into mediation with them – attests to a fractious relationship between staff and management. This can’t be conducive to building stronger synergies.”