A multimillion-dollar search for savings is likely to result
in redundancies at the University of Otago, the Tertiary
Education Union (TEU) says.
The TEU's comments came after chief operating officer John
Patrick said this week academic divisions were expected to
find savings to make up for $2.114 million of a $4.183
million shortfall caused by a failure to meet forecast
This was ''expected to lead to reviews, restructuring and
redundancies'' the TEU said in its weekly newsletter
The TEU's claims were later disputed by Otago University's
human resources director Kevin Seales.
''The planned savings mentioned at the council meeting [this
week] were for 2014 only, and at this stage, there are no
plans to carry out any restructuring to achieve them,'' Mr
The comments in the TEU newsletter came as it released
research showing three out of five New Zealand tertiary
education workers believed their jobs would be restructured
within the next two years, and 30% believed they would be
TEU organiser Shaun Scott elaborated further on fears about
cuts at Otago University, saying the announcement at the
council meeting caused ''stress and anxiety'' for staff.
''People are feeling vulnerable. We haven't been notified of
any formal reviews or anything like that, but it does create
that sense of vulnerability for people.''
This was particularly the case for fixed-term staff, who
already faced an uncertain employment future.
With the university allocating its surpluses to its ''more
than $600 million'' building programme there was discussion
about whether it was investing too much in buildings and not
enough in staff.
However, the biggest issue was a need for more Government
funding, as there should be enough money to maintain both
staff levels and ageing buildings.
TEU national president Lesley Francey said its survey results
were symptomatic of a lack of Government funding''The
Government is spending half a billion dollars less on
tertiary education than it did six years ago.''
A spokesman for Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce
disputed the TEU's claims about Government funding.
''The reality is the tertiary sector is in good shape and the
Government has increased funding in the sector since 2008,
despite tough financial times.''
''In 2013, the Government invested $2.25 billion in publicly
owned tertiary institutions, an increase of 13.9% since
2008,'' he said.
When it came to the issue of redundancies, he stressed
tertiary institutions were autonomous organisations under the
''Individual institutions are best placed to make decisions
about the operation of their organisations including