News

Final Change Plan: follow-up message


20 February 2012

I am writing to let you know that, regrettably, we must proceed with our plan to reduce the University's cost base, and as a consequence, this morning 100 academic staff members have received a letter telling them that their position is being considered for redundancy. A further 64 have, because of their contribution to teaching in the University, been offered a teaching-focused role as an alternative to voluntary redundancy.

Please note that no final decisions have yet been made regarding these redundancies. Those who have received a letter are invited to provide, by 5 March, a submission to the Central Assessment Panel regarding their research output, teaching or administrative contributions, or factors affecting their relative opportunity. These submissions will be considered by the panel before any final decisions are made.

This step follows our announcement last November of the major budget shortfall we experienced last year and which is projected to continue for the next few years. Mechanisms to cut our costs so we can meet our budget target include reductions in our capital works program, and in both salary and non-salary expenditure. These measures have been outlined in draft and final change proposals that have been communicated to all staff.

While savings in administrative salaries will also be required, these will be managed at the local level, and may be achieved through cuts to casual staffing and expenditure on contractors. Where savings measures would involve changes to which the 'Managing Change' provisions of the Enterprise Agreement apply, the relevant area will implement its own change management proposals.

Following an extensive period of consultation, including meetings with the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) that concluded late on Friday afternoon, the University has finalised its change management plan. In the absence of any viable proposed alternative to make savings of the scale required, it has become clear that we have no option other than to proceed with the redundancy program.

This week, deans and heads of school are making sure they have time to talk with affected academic staff and, as well, a range of Human Resources (HR), counselling and support schemes are available. If you are affected yourself, or if you are worried about a colleague, please don't hesitate to get in touch with your dean, head or your HR relationship manager.

This has been an extremely difficult decision to make, and one that we have reached most reluctantly. We are very aware of the impact this will have on both the affected staff and those who will be losing colleagues. However, we simply do not have the financial means to retain our current staffing levels, and my ultimate responsibility, and that of the management team, is to ensure that the University remains successful and financially sustainable not just this year, but in the coming years.

Yours sincerely

Michael Spence