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College Staff take action against job cuts

28 November 2006

College Staff take action against job cuts


Staff at Victoria University’s College of Education have begun legal and protest action to force the college to halt forced redundancies and undertake a fair and objective review of its activities.

The action follows an announcement last Friday that the College proposed to disestablish 18 jobs. 17 voluntary redundancies have already been made at the College in July this year with the PVC Education, Prof. Dugald Scott, advising staff at the time that there would be no need for any forced redundancies. Several days prior to the announcement of the proposal to cut 18 jobs, 18 staff were surprised to discover that they had little or no teaching workload allocated to them for 2009 – from which they began to infer that their jobs might be at risk.

“Even by the standards of recent changes at the college, this process represents an astonishing and quite cruel disconnection between the activities of management and the working life of staff. It is also a flagrant breach of management obligations around information, consultation and fairness,” senior staff member, Dr Joanna Kidman, said.

“While 18 people appear to have been targeted in a completely opaque process, the staff as a whole are saying that they cannot continue to work with any sort of dignity or efficacy in this environment. We don’t know who will be struck down next or for what reason. We have no idea what the financial or academic plan for the college is.

“Bizarrely, the week before the announcement the Director of the College was still actively reproaching staff for listening to rumours of job losses.

“We are also very concerned about the continuing quality of teacher education at the college. For example, face to face hours between lecturers and student teachers have been cut by more than half - from 66 hours to 25 in English, say, or 58 to 25 in Maths.

“Staff have decided to take a range of protest action including an “information boycott”. Since information provided by staff appears to have been used to target individuals for redundancies without them knowing it would be used for this purpose, we will not be providing any more information until we have some assurances that there will be no forced redundancies and a fair and objective review will be undertaken.

ENDS

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