ABC News | 12 November 2013
The National Tertiary Education Union staff fears the Australian National University (ANU) may start forcing staff redundancies and cut courses to meet its budget shortfall.
The university says 147 professional staff have accepted voluntary redundancies, short of the 230 jobs it plans to cut in a bid to save more than $50 million in lost government funding.
A further 50 academic staff have accepted an early retirement as part of the ANU’s academic renewal program.
The university says it will use the savings to re-invest in new academic positions.
An ANU spokesperson says there are no plans to start forcing staff redundancies and that the university never expected the voluntary scheme to achieve the required staff cuts.
A recruitment freeze will continue, as will work on reducing duplication in administration and other roles.Vice-chancellor Ian Young remains optimistic that natural attrition will meet the target within the set two-year timeframe.
But the NTEU also fears courses could be cut to help meet budget targets. NTEU’s Steve Darwin says:
We are receiving reports of certain parts of the university considering closing programs based on retirements. That’s not an educational reason, that’s a budget reason.
The ANU branded the union’s claims as “utterly false”:
The ANU offers around 4,000 courses and each year the university refreshes its curricula. Hundreds of courses are reviewed each year and via that process some are reaccredited, some are changed, some are cancelled and replaced.