Queensland unis calm over COVID-19

Queensland unis want to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on staff, including casuals

The National Tertiary Education Union reports a “positive” meeting with University of Queensland provost Aidan Byrne, with talks to continue. Management is said to be looking to defer spending and encouraging people to take leave, rather than just lay-off casuals.

Word is the union expects the same from non-metropolitans, with no expectations of casuals being laid-off or hours reduced.

In Brisbane, Griffith U tells CMM, the COVID-19 travel restrictions, “will, in some areas, actually require more staffing resources to ensure we can best support impacted students. The university will continue to assess the financial impact and further required response.”

There are concerns at QUT for staff employment in its pathways college but last night Vice Chancellor Margaret Sheil told CMM that while ten sessional jobs are going this is not virus related but an already in-place change, established under the university’s enterprise agreement.

“There are an additional 24 new ongoing and six fixed term positions.  The increase in ongoing staff has reduced the need for sessional educators. We have also seen a decline in demand for some English language courses in the face of competition from private providers,” she said.