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Media Release: NTEU to Campaign to Stop Job Cuts at UWA

Posted 15 June 2010 by Lisbeth Latham (WA Division)

Members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) in UWA’s School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences (BBCS), met today to discuss the union’s campaign against the proposal to make nine professional and technical staff redundant. UWA management has also announced that six academic staff will not be replaced when they leave UWA this year. Further redundancies amongst the academic staff are also expected as University Management looks to cut BBCS’s expenditure.


Dr Jamie O’Shea, NTEU UWA Branch President said: “Staff are extremely concerned about Management’s proposal. Our concerns relate to both the immediate impact on colleagues facing redundancy and the long term impact of these cuts on workloads and on educational outcomes for students. Workloads have already increased as student enrolment is up five percent this year, with these cuts and further increases in enrolment the situation will become untenable”.


The NTEU opposes any job cuts in BBCS and believes that UWA staff are paying the price for decisions made in UWA’s senior leadership, including those related to a wide-ranging capital works programme.


Dr O’Shea continued, “In the last round of negotiations the NTEU accepted lower wage outcomes in exchange for Management’s commitment that there would be no job cuts. Despite this sacrifice by staff, 15 jobs are going in BBCS alone. Management claims that redundancies are necessary to bring the school’s budget out of deficit, but the deficit is a consequence of Management’s decision to reduce funding to schools. UWA management have admitted on a number of occasions that the school budget short falls are a consequence of ongoing reductions in the proportion of funding that the university receives for teaching that are allocated to teaching activities. Management has redirected these funds to help fund other activities such as $250 million in capital works”.


The NTEU will call on the University Executive to increase funding to schools to stop jobs cuts and maintain education quality. “Given that the proposed job losses are a consequence of budgetary decisions made by University Executive over a period years. The question must be asked – either the University made these decisions and failed to foresee or recognise that they would result in job losses, or they consciously made a decision in advance to create a situation where jobs would be lost. The NTEU calls on the University to act to refund BBSC to avoid job losses and our members will be taking action to ensure the Executive hears this call” said Dr O’Shea.


The NTEU President will be seeking to urgently meet with the Vice-Chancellor to address these matters.