A union leader expects job cuts to be ‘small to moderate’ after Deakin University announced it was streamlining operations to ensure the Warrnambool campus’ future.
Michael Callaghan, National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) incoming national council member and Warrnambool committee member, said staff were coming to terms with the decision to axe courses and jobs.
“The NTEU is cautiously pleased with the current outcome and it understands that the expectation is for a small to moderate number of job losses and that those job losses will be on a voluntary basis,” Mr Callaghan said.
“It is the NTEU’s understanding there will be no forced redundancies and the university will continue to negotiate with staff in good faith to find the best solution for the remaining staff on the campus, so that a sustainable and robust student experience will be offered in the future.”
He said Vice Chancellor Jane den Hollander’s announcement focused on cost-saving measures to ensure the campus’ future, with little talk about new course offerings to entice students.
“While there was mention of the agri-business course, there was little to no discussion of any innovative or unique courses to be developed,” he said.
“For the campus to have any chance of becoming sustainable, it does need to have its own unique offerings.”
He said staff had been largely left in the dark about negotiations and discussions over the past months.
“Whenever there is discussions of voluntary separation and talk of restructures and significant workplace change it’s understandable that those that haven’t been involved in those discussions really would be quite shocked,” he said.
“It’s my hope that over the past 24 hours and over the coming weeks the university will work to explain to staff that the significant changes for the campus is a necessary part of ensuring their productive futures.”
Mr Callaghan said once staff read material provided by the university they should be able to make a well-informed decision as to whether they wished to continue working for Deakin.
“Those that do decide to move on (should) be given a generous opportunity to do so,” he said. “Those that remain should be given the best opportunity to be part of the solution for the future of the campus.”