TEU continues to call on all leaders in the tertiary education sector to lead by example and bring to the table new approaches to the management of tertiary education institutions amidst increasing fears of further job losses within the tertiary education sector.

Employers’ calls for staff to apply for voluntary leaving schemes and enhanced retirement offers in the tertiary education sector are being rejected by TEU as employers have not demonstrated there are surplus jobs, nor have they engaged in adequate consultation. In fact, TEU research show that workloads are increasing for staff in the sector. Cuts in staffing levels will only exacerbate this.

TEU members know that once jobs are lost, the country’s recovery from Covid-19 is threatened. During this time of crisis, the tertiary education sector is at the frontline in Aotearoa’s social and economic recovery. Institutions must consider how decisions made today will not only affect the livelihoods and workloads of staff, but also the future of our students, the sector, and of Aotearoa as a whole.

TEU acknowledges that the closure of borders due to Covid-19 has impacted severely on the revenue of our institutions. However, there are alternatives to job cuts, and with international students set to return, these alternatives must be given sector-wide consideration. According to TEU National Secretary Sandra Grey,

“Our institutions now have a clear signal that international students will be coming back. That means they can more confidently ride out the current dip in revenue using their significant reserves. There is no need for job cuts. What we need now is greater co-operation across the sector and with government”.

Grey says next month’s all-of-sector Voices of Tertiary Education hui provides an opportunity to develop a path forward that will provide security during a time or crisis, while protecting the future of the sector,

“Now is not the time to impose a short-term fix at the expense of staffs’ jobs, their conditions of work, and students’ conditions of learning. TEU is calling on all leaders in the sector to lead by example and bring new approaches to the management of institutions in an all of sector hui hosted by TEU on November 17th to plan for the future of tertiary education together.”