Unitec staff worried about possible job cuts in restructure

By | August 7, 2015

Up to 300 staff at Auckland polytechnic Unitec Institute of Technology could lose their jobs in the next three years, leaving staff worried about their positions.

This is in line with Unitec’s major restructuring process, which will be announced Friday afternoon. The restructured student services model could mean that up to 60 jobs will be cut in the next six to nine months.

The Tertiary Education Union said that today’s proposal will be “to help it cope with the impact of an ongoing government funding squeeze.”

Branch president Sid Suha Aksoy said that the staff are currently worried. “Waiting for this proposal makes my colleagues and I nervous. It is unsettling.”

Unitec currently has campuses in Albany, Mt Albert, and Waitakere and has nearly 19,000 students.

Unitec chief executive Rick Eded said that the staff should get ready for changes.

“We expect that the shift to new teaching methods, improved ways of working, and efficiencies created by new technology will result in reductions of 200 to 300 or more jobs from current staff,” he said. “We acknowledge the challenges this will pose for our people who are directly affected by these changes, and we will do everything possible to support them through the process.”

Sandra Grey, Tertiary Education Union president, said that Unitec is being forced to restructure because the government is making them “unviable,” adding that the proposals could ask staff to change their modes of teaching and adopting more online.

“Tomorrow and beyond, we will stay at the table with Unitec and speak up for good quality education and the needs of staff,” she said.

She added that both Unitec staff and students have already faced constant years of restructuring. In 2014, over 50 people lost their full-time jobs after the restructuring of the design and visual arts department.