Uni Sydney redundancies mean a restructure says union

Last week VC Michael Spence proposed a voluntary redundancy round. The union thinks it is unnecessary and avoidable

The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union say the proposed staff cuts are “part of a long-term process of restructuring the university workforce,” which, “would see permanent jobs replaced with fixed-term and casual jobs that can come and go at management’s whim.”

The union responds to an announcement last week by Vice Chancellor Michael Spence that the university would be in surplus on a its COVID-19 impacted revised budget. However, Dr Spence called for voluntary redundancies to end the need for three to four years of “unsustainable savings.”

“The hiring freeze, no investment in infrastructure or equipment, restrictions on travel and other measures are already having an impact on many parts of the university … it is essential that we ease some of these restrictions in key areas,” he said, (CMM September 18).

However, the union responds management can draw on reserves or borrow money, if there is an actual need.

“There is no rationale for downsizing the workforce when international enrolments are subject to so much uncertainty, previous projections have proven to be major underestimates, and we are seeing an unanticipated increase in domestic enrolments.”

According to the union, Senior DVC Stephen Garton says management wants a minimum 100 jobs gone, hopefully more. But a university representative responds that, “we are not working to a preferred figure” and Professor Garton used the number when talking to the union as a “an example only… not to be taken literally.”