Flinders U got through an academic and admin restructure largely unscathed ( CMM December 11 2017) but now the union worries another round is coming.
What alarms the union, among other concerns, is the possibility management will expand teaching-specialist positions to save money by reducing the number of academics who must be allowed time for research.
“If senior management decides to attempt a reconfiguration of the academic workforce to 50 per cent ‘balanced’ and 50 per cent ‘teaching-only’ they would have a mechanism to drive staff out of continuing roles. … Many staff may face the indignity of having to apply for teaching-only positions at lower levels than their current classifications, and then face a significant loss in salary while also having to fight tooth-and-nail to win the positions at all,” the union warns.
To which Flinders management replies; “the university is committed to the teaching specialist role and is currently assessing the implications of such a restructure process.”
The NTEU is quite clear that it does not oppose teaching-specialists, agreeing with management in the Fair Work Commission that they can be continuing positions covered by the university’s enterprise agreement from this year (CMM August 23 2017).
However, the NTEU warns “any wholesale reconfiguration of the academic workforce will mean job losses and hardship. Teaching-only positions may be presented as shiny new opportunities, but the reality is more sinister.”