Uni Sydney proposes voluntary (that’s voluntary) redundancies

Vice Chancellor Michael Spence says there is no target number

In a message to staff late yesterday Dr Spence reported that while semester two enrolments are “far stronger than we had expected” the impact of COVID-19 on international student numbers will continue next year, with commencements  down 35 per cent. This will have a continuing impact revenue impact for up to four years.

The vice chancellor makes the case for VRs because non-staff savings, “are not sustainable in the longer-term if we are to continue to flourish as a world-class institution.” He adds the university executive will take a 20 per cent salary cut.

With the VR scheme proposed to run until November this announcement appears to mean no forced redundancies for the balance of Dr Spence’s term – he moves to the UK at year end. However, the VC points to the possibility of further staff savings, saving the VR proposal is to “ensure we are as financially prepared as we can be for the uncertain future we face, without taking action that would have a greater adverse impact on our staff.”

Yesterday’s proposal follows campus uproar over an arts faculty discussion paper that included a 30 per cent FTE staff cut as a “scenario-planning” exercise (CMM August 21).