“Several hundred” jobs on the line at University of Otago.

Hundreds of staff at Te Whare Wānanga o Ōtākou | University of Otago are bracing themselves for potential unemployment in the wake of warnings from management that large scale redundancies are on the way.

In an email to staff this afternoon, Acting Vice Chancellor Helen Nicholson said “our current modelling shows that we may need to lose several hundred FTE over the next 18 months.”

Nicholson’s email states that while enrolments are only down .9% on last year, university management had budgeted on enrolment growth. This has left many staff frustrated that they could lose their jobs due, in part, to bad forecasting.

TEU Kaiwhakahaere | Organiser at Otago, Phil Edwards, says “staff cuts are never a good response to the cyclical fluctuations we always see in enrolment numbers. Of course when we have low unemployment, fewer people choose to study. But with economists predicting an economic downturn in the very near future, this is the absolute worst time to be cutting the tertiary education workforce.”

“Much more needs to be done to ensure these cycles can be ridden out, and a big part of that is the way tertiary education is funded in Aotearoa. We don’t think University of Otago management have done enough to secure the funding they need to deliver quality public tertiary education that meets the needs of a country that is crying out for more skilled workers.”

“We have repeatedly called on all the Vice Chancellors to work with us and the government in a tripartite forum to argue for the university sector our country deserves and would benefit greatly from. We repeat that call again today, before more highly valuable staff are forced to walk out the door.”

Media contact
Enzo Giordani
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