Husband speaks out about uni cuts

Shaun Scott.
Shaun Scott.
Anxiety is building among University of Otago general staff but 600 staff and students have spoken out about plans to cut 182 full-time equivalent (FTE) general staff jobs at the institution.

In July Vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne announced plans to cut back the number of general staff to change the way they operated and ensure the university maintained its "environment of excellence".

Tertiary Education Union organiser Shaun Scott said the large number of submissions on the Support Services Review business case reflected the level of emotion staff at the university felt about the proposal.

"Anxiety at the moment would probably be the best way to describe it.

"It is now a waiting game for people to see what the final outcomes will be in terms of what is being considered through the submission process, and what changes, if any are made."

The husband of a general staff member who did not want to be named said his wife knew her position would be disestablished, but she would not find out if she had a new role until May 2018.

She had worked for the university for the past 17 years, he said.

"I sit there watching her at night time, going quiet and thinking and sometimes having a wee cry about it."

She felt immensely stressed and sad not only about the uncertainty of her future but that of other colleagues.

"We understand the need to update and change, but my wife isn’t a labour unit. Like all of these people, she is a person who is affected by this."

University of Otago human resources director Kevin Seales said the  consultation process ended on August 25.

"The submissions are being considered by a panel of university staff and then the project steering group."

Submissions were invited on any aspect of the business case so any part of the proposal could change.

Staff were likely to be told about the final decision of the business case by the end of September, Mr Seales said.

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