U Tas targets professors for redundancy

The university wants senior Australian Maritime College academics to leave

Management warns salary costs exceed revenue and something has to give. The preferred choice in a university change proposal is for five professors/ associate professors to go, out of 12 FTE positions.

This is the only staff cut proposed, but without it 7-8 lecturer roles would be abolished, meaning continuing staff would have share 35 per cent more teaching, compared to up to 21 per cent if the professors leave. Plus, if they do go, unspecified Fixed Term staff with five years minimum service could be converted to permanent positions.

But one apparent down-side for junior staff is that some of them will have to move to teaching only positions, which a college-watcher describes as “a voyage to nowhere at the university.”

In case anybody misses what management is offering, the change proposal states, “alternative options have been considered, however the proposed reduction in senior academic FTE represents the most effective and efficient means of achieving a financially viable and sustainable outcome, with the least impact on staff and the learning and teaching programme.”

Last night U Tas stated, “We are consulting with staff and unions on a change proposal that would see a small reduction in staff – 4 or 5 FTE out of a workforce of more than 110 FTE – and the conversion of a number of positions from fixed-term to permanent roles.”

“Every effort is being made to minimise the impact on people, and voluntary options and potential redeployment will be explored through the consultation process.”

So, with professional staff  out of scope and no plan to change the AMC structure, the proposal will be very painful for not many people.

Unless as observers suggest, it is but the first proposal and there will be more to come in other academic units – which has just become easier for management to organise.

In June 2020 U Tas and the National Tertiary Education Union varied the enterprise agreement to address COVID-19 concerns. Among the terms, management agreed that,  “during the life of this schedule there will be no forced redundancies as a generalised cost-cutting measure which are not connected to a reduction in work.” The deal expired on July 1.