What’s next for the UTS community

With enterprise bargaining underway word is out that times are tough and will stay that way

UTS management expects to be in deficit through to 2023, targeting a surplus in 2024, with no prospect of any early arrangement to bring international students, including from China back.

While management is not suggesting relying on Chinese students could be a problem it might be. As the new QILT survey of on-shore internationals in 2020 revealed, students from the PRC were (with Malaysians) the least happy with their study experience in Australia last year (CMM August 6).

Enterprise bargaining at UTS will occur in the context of change, which presumably management would prefer to occur under the terms of the existing agreement rather than become caught up in negotiations for the next one. Deans are reviewing teaching and research priorities. People in Arts and Social Sciences already knows this means involuntary redundancies to help meet a $3.2m faculty savings target (CMM May 25).

The interface between faculties and admin divisions is also being reviewed by an external consultant. This is said to be about smoothing process rather than reducing staff, but UTS observers suggest any head-count savings could be hard to resist.

Bargaining will also occur with management looking for savings on employee costs, including caps on voluntary separation payments, moves to make staff take leave and a longer end of year shut down.

As to more pay in people’s pockets, there is talk of offering staff a lower super contribution rate, the nationally legislated 10 per cent – with the extra 7 per cent, which is paid across the university system, going to UTS wages. It would be a way for more pay without increasing costs.