Concerns about future job cuts at Massey

Posted By TEU on Oct 5, 2017 | 6 comments

Tertiary Update – Vol 20 No 29

Massey University Vice-Chancellor, Jan Thomas, has warned that job cuts may be on the horizon in a bid to manage budget cuts.

In a wide ranging interview with Massey University’s student magazine, Massive, Thomas would not rule out job cuts a Massey looks to meet a Tertiary Education Commission requirement that universities maintain a 3 per cent surplus.

Thomas also claimed there was a problem of “chronic under-performance” among Massey academic staff that would likely lead to job losses.

“There will be staff who have been chronic under-performers who we will lose from the university because I want to be able to spend the dollars I have as wisely as I can,” Thomas said.

Sandra Grey, national president of the TEU, is seeking a meeting with Thomas to discuss the statements.

“We understand that Professor Thomas wants to meet targets around performance. However, discussing staff performance publicly can compromise well-being and is actually likely to undermine productivity,” Grey said.

The TEU will be seeking assurances from Professor Thomas that she is not planning to implement narrow performance metrics. Rigid performance indicators risk pushing institutional leaders to abandon the core mission of teaching and learning.

“What motivates staff is giving them purpose, freedom and greater autonomy in what they do. Professor Thomas would be wise to read the evidence that confirms this when she is making changes to the way staff work at Massey” Grey added.

University management is currently trying to hold down staff pay below the rate of inflation, in response to the union’s efforts to negotiate collectively for well paid jobs.

Management has also said it will abandon nine years of hard work on a general staff pay model that would improve transparency and equity in staff pay.

Prior to Thomas’ appointment, the role of vice-chancellor benefited from a pay hike of $50,000, one of the largest pay increases enjoyed by any vice-chancellor or chief executive across the sector.

The TEU is planning an action next Tuesday to talk to students at the university’s Wellington, Manawatū and Albany campuses about management’s latest pay offer.

“I am sure students will be interested to hear about what management is proposing, particularly after reading about what the VC has to say about staff,” Grey said.

This article was amended on 6 October after Massive notified the TEU it had wrongly attributed a quote to the Vice-Chancellor.

The TEU was pleased to hear that it was in fact an anonymous staff member that said academic staff should ‘go find a polytech.’T he TEU remains concerned, however, with Professor Thomas’ comments about staff  performance and is seeking a meeting to discuss her intended approach to managing productivity at Massey University.

Massive has updated its online version of the interview with Professor Thomas here.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Teachers matter to us all
  2. World Teachers’ Day an opportunity to discuss our future

Other news

The New Zealand Education Institute has gathered for its annual conference this week and discussed campaigns on pay equity and supporting a better public education system – NZEI

Members of the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers’ Association have been discussing the negative affect on children of growing teacher shortages at their annual conference this week – PPTA

The Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki has signed an agreement with the Open Polytechnic to adopt iQualify, a digital education platform – WITT

The Universal College of Learning recently hosted the Shandong Foreign Trade Vocational College, a government funded polytechnic in eastern China – UCOL

University of Canterbury Vice-Chancellor Dr. Rod Carr has announced that he will not be seeking reappointment when his current contract ends on 1 February 2019 – Stuff

Victoria University of Wellington has opened the Wellington-Changsha Innovation Technology Transfer Centre, which will focus on developing partnerships to produce biotechnology and medical products – VUW

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment is now calling for proposals for the 2018 Endeavour Fund – MBIE

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