Union upset by redundancies

Helen Nicholson
Helen Nicholson
The University of Otago’s announcement that it had accepted 103 redundancy applications out of a total of 195 was disappointing, the staff union says.

Otago-based Tertiary Education Union (TEU) organiser Philip Edwards said the organisation did not support redundancy proposals.

"It’s extremely sad to see experienced staff in both professional and academic positions leave," he said.

"We prefer the university identify areas where revenue is declining or costs rising, rather than using the broad brush of redundancy."

University acting vice-chancellor Prof Helen Nicholson said the redundancies were unfortunate but necessary.

"It is very sad for us to lose experienced staff.

"However, voluntary redundancy was considered the fairest way ... short term, to manage the challenging financial situation we find ourselves in."

The redundancy scheme was announced in September last year to respond to financial woes brought about by Covid-19.

Mr Edwards described what he saw as some of the consequences of the scheme.

"While there are financial savings, there’s also a cost: we lose organisational knowledge, research output, and experienced teachers."

Mr Edwards said he was concerned that workload would be distributed in such a way that departments might feel strain.

"There’s a hole, and this is one way of fixing it, but the university community suffers."

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