Cutting the frontline harms students

Posted By TEU on Apr 26, 2019 | 1 comment

Press Release Friday 26 April 2019

Restructuring at the University of Waikato will affect more than the 50
people whose jobs are under a cloud says the Tertiary Education Union.

“This shake up in the end will impact on the quality of the experience of
students and the engagement with the community and employers” says TEU
organiser Shane Vugler.

University management are currently consulting on restructuring of
administration and support services following the establishment of five new
divisions in 2018.

Vugler says staff were assured that no jobs were going in the shakeup.
“Then two months into the new teaching year we are told that 50
administration and support staff are facing a very uncertain futures.”

“The Vice Chancellor put in five highly paid pro-vice chancellors during
last year’s shake up and now he’s turned around to save money by cutting
those working with students and staff on the frontline.”

TEU national industrial officer, Irena Brorens, says “the moves to cut
support and administrative staff will cost long-term. We’ve had a sneak
preview of the latest research on wellbeing in the tertiary education
sector and it shows that the continuous under investment in staff is now
harming student learning and well-being.”

Brorens says “A survey of nearly 3,000 staff a third reported that support
services had got worse over the last three years in the tertiary education
sector. This is because our institutional leaders, like the Vice Chancellor
at Waikato, are underinvesting in staffing.”

“Since Neil Quigley arrived at Waikato four years ago the amount of money
which goes into staff costs has dropped from 59% of expenditure to 54%. If
you keep cutting and cutting the staff at your institution, eventually the
effect will be felt by those relying on excellent support and
administrative services – the students.”

Vugler hopes that during the next three weeks there will be genuine
consultation and they show that they are listening to staff and students.

Last year, staff and students in Maori studies successfully opposed their
department being subsumed into new divisions set up to ‘streamline’
reporting to the Vice Chancellor.

Media contact:

Shane Vugler, organiser TEU – 021 194 5831

Irena Brorens, national industrial officer TEU – 021 770 843

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1 Comment

  1. Waikato VC, Neil, said on first reducing academic staff a couple of years ago, that once the new student management system( perhaps oddly named “tribal”, was in place he would turn his attention, like Saruman from Lord of the Rings, onto general and support staff. As noted in earlier messaging from me “Hang together or hang separately; coming to a Division near you” Neil shows no regard for staff, recently referring to them in an official staff circular as “headcounts”!

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