VC Reveals At Least 182 Job Cuts For General Staff

University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Harlene Hayne addressed a packed College of Education Auditorium on Friday 14 July to reveal the changes to be made in their Support Services Review.

Hayne first provided background to the review, before revealing that 182 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) staff will lose their jobs from the university’s 2,330 General Staff.

The presentation of the business case, which Hayne described as an “exciting new way to meet challenges in a sustainable way,” is the result of an almost two year Support Services Review, and was live streamed to University of Otago campuses across the country.

Some of the staff who attended the meeting in Dunedin held their heads in their hands as the level of job cuts was revealed to them.

TEU Organiser Shaun Scott told Critic that the business case has caused “a palpable level of shock among staff,” with the decision “really negatively impacting how the university will work in the future.”

As rumours of 300 job losses circulated in the lead up to the presentation, many staff may have considered the 182 job losses to be a relatively positive result, however Scott warned that, because many of the support staff are employed on part-time contracts, the overall total is “likely to be well north of 200 … and it could well be deeper than that”.

The meeting revealed little more than the broad picture, with most impacted staff likely possibly not hearing about their individual futures until as late as March 2018.

“There is a definite sense among [TEU] members and general staff that they’re not valued [by the University of Otago],” Scott also explained, especially with the unfortunate timing and “unnecessary spending of some of the beautification and also the rebranding of their logo.”

The TEU have set up ‘stop-work’ meetings that began last Friday and they say each member should attend at least one of, so that attendance will allow them “to best represent the views of all members on the proposals”.

This article first appeared in Issue 16, 2017.
Posted 10:54am Sunday 23rd July 2017 by Joe Higham.