MEDIA RELEASE: Staff Union Says No to Job Cuts at UWA
The National Tertiary Education Union’s (NTEU) UWA Branch announced today the initiation of campaign against job cuts in the School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences (BBCS). UWA Management informed staff in BBCS on August 5 that it intended to proceed with plans aimed at reducing costs and reduce the size of the School’s budget deficit. These cuts will result in nine general staff losing their jobs. The job cuts follow a decision by UWA to not fill an additional six academic staff positions that have become vacant over the past 18 months.
The NTEU is concerned that students and staff are being made to pay the price of the decision to reduce the proportion of the funding that UWA receives being spent on teaching students. This money has instead been directed to other activities including $250 million in capital works.
Dr Jamie O’Shea, NTEU UWA branch president said, “Over the past five years we have seen a reduction in the share of funding allocated to teaching activities within UWA’s schools. If Management had maintained the proportion of funding allocated to teaching at the same level as 2005, then there would be no budget deficit in BBCS or any other school at UWA”.
Staff are concerned that the decision has been made to cut jobs despite the University having not completed a full analysis of the impact of job cuts on BBCS’s budget, particularly given that plan includes the shedding of UWA’s glassblower and closing of its glass workshop, and to use disposable plastics which the UWA will purchase from an external provider rather than using reusable glassware.
Dr O’Shea said, “Our members and other staff in BBCS have pointed out that the move to use plastics could potentially cost more than glass. We have argued that any decision on an issue as important as a person losing their job, should only be made once all the facts are in hand. A number of different options have been put forward to keep both the glass making workshop and glass washing facilities operating, but they have all been rejected by management”.
The NTEU has initiated a petition calling on UWA’s Executive to take action to stop job cuts and restore funding to teaching activities at UWA. The petition is a part of campaign of public activities to publicise the job cuts in BBCS, and demonstrate the level of support for staff in the school amongst both the University and broader community.
Dr O’Shea said, “Our members are extremely concerned about the implications of job cuts in BBCS. Student numbers have been grown 5% at UWA this year, despite this we are seeing the loss of positions and we are very concerned about the growth in workloads on staff and the potential flow on effects on learning outcomes for students”.
For Further Comment Contact
Dr Jamie O’Shea, President, NTEU UWA Branch
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