The University of Otago spent more than $5.5 million on
redundancies in the past four years.
Figures released to the Otago Daily Times under the
Official Information Act showed a total of 121.88 full-time
equivalent (FTE) staff were made redundant over the four
years from 2010 to 2013.
The figures also showed overall FTEs at the university
declined from 3759 in 2011 to 3754 last year.
Tertiary Education Union (TEU) Otago University organiser
Shaun Scott said the numbers were of concern.
''When you hear the numbers presented in that way, both the
dollars and particularly the number of people - that's a
significant impact,'' Mr Scott said.
Taking into account part-time staff, 121.88 FTE likely added
to ''150 or more'' people being made redundant over the
period, he said.
''It has such a significant impact, obviously on the
individuals affected, but also on their colleagues that
remain as well. It can impact on workload and certainly it
can impact on morale.''
The fact overall job numbers at the university had stayed
level over the past three years was of concern not just for
staff and the union, but also for the city of Dunedin.
It meant Dunedin could no longer be as reliant on the
university for job growth as it had been in the past.
''Undeniably, the university is a huge employer and has a
huge role in the economic and cultural wellbeing of the
The slight decline in job numbers from 2011 to last year was
likely a result of declining student numbers and tight
University human resources director Kevin Seales said, as
part of the Official Information Act response, the university
did not instigate restructuring process ''without very good
''We take our obligations to be a good employer seriously and
are acutely aware of the effects that loss of employment can
''Broadly, over this period, there were three situations
where restructuring processes were used: firstly when there
has been a loss of research funding or a need to reduce
costs; secondly to meet changing business needs; and finally
to accommodate the [College of Education] merger.''
The most redundancies were in the humanities department (34.6
FTEs) followed by health sciences (31.41).
Of the redundancies 52.33 FTEs were academic staff and 69.55
FTEs were general staff.
The university spent $354 million on staff costs last year.