UniAdelaide staff merger worries

Union leaders at the University of Adelaide are adopting a harder position to the proposal for a merger with neighbouring University of South Australia, now being discussed.

Back in August the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union said it would want guarantees on four points to accept a deal; a moratorium on forced redundancies, union and staff participation in a merger process, a new enterprise agreement and “clear processes” for a merged university’s policy and procedures.

All eminently achievable but since then more staff consultation has seen scepticism on what a merger might mean, for issues including;

job security: staff worry about job losses, notably for professional staff in central administration and services areas

loss of collegiality: reduction of staff and student representation on decision-making bodies

institutional differences: different systems and cultural difference, for example, teaching focused versus research focused

morale: “any transition period will be demotivating for staff”

The union spells out what will happen if it does not receive assurances on staff-issues.

“Ignoring potential workplace and industrial issues without a commitment to resolution early in the merger process, leaves the university open to significant and prolonged industrial disruption in the short and medium term. “


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