Victoria U talking on savings strategy

Vice Chancellor Peter Dawkins engaging with the union

He briefed staff yesterday, confirming previous estimates of earnings $50m under budget this year. But with the second wave of COVID-19 in Melbourne Professor Dawkins now does not expect international student numbers to bounce back as hoped, meaning VU will be down a further $20m next in 2021.

So far, the university has found $30m in non-staff expenditure reductions, which Professor Dawkins says is the “equivalent of 120 full-time equivalent positions.”  However, he adds it is now time for a voluntary redundancy programme and other staff-agreed cuts to conditions and to consider a variation to the enterprise agreement to reduce wage increases, “with a view to saving significant numbers of jobs that would otherwise need to go.”

The VC says VU has opened discussions with the National Tertiary Education Union for a local job protection framework. This involves union and management agreeing on temporary cuts to conditions and a freeze on pay rises in return for a commitment to protect jobs. Such arrangements are already agreed at seven or so universities.