CSU professional and general staff 'on tenterhooks', bracing for restructure

RESTRUCTURE: It's not yet clear what the impact of course and workforce changes across Charles Sturt University will have on the Albury-Wodonga campus. Picture: TARA TREWHELLA
RESTRUCTURE: It's not yet clear what the impact of course and workforce changes across Charles Sturt University will have on the Albury-Wodonga campus. Picture: TARA TREWHELLA

An estimated retrenchment figure across Charles Sturt University campuses of 100 does not include academic staff, with employees across the university bracing for a year-long review.

Documents detailing restructure proposals for professional and general staff will be released next Wednesday.

National Tertiary Education Union Charles Sturt University branch president Helen Masterman-Smith said there was much anxiety about what this would involve.

"We are expecting seven to eight change proposals to be released next week simultaneously which cover almost half of the workforce," she said.

"You have half the workforce on tenterhooks at the moment, not sure if they're part of the 100 jobs on the chopping block.

"The loss of a significant proportion of our general support and professional staff is going to have flow-on effects ... one of the concerns is the work those staff would normally do will be put onto others."

Acting Vice-Chancellor John Germov said the university would aim to address this.

"We need to show how that work can either be absorbed within the remaining workforce through new ways of working, or in some cases we might stop doing things ... they might be 'nice-to-haves' rather than essential services," he said.

"We are very conscious we need to put the university on sustainable financial and academic footing.

"Even pre-COVID-19, we were predicting a $16 million budget deficit."

That deficit has grown to $49.5 million, and the executive team want to return to a balanced budget in 2021.

Professor Germov said non-salary savings had been identified, but job losses were unavoidable, and proposals next week would provide more detail on redundancies for non-academic staff.

Academic staff will come under a second phase of 'Sustainable Futures' in October, though 600 subjects have already been flagged for discontinuation.

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"Most are obsolete subjects which haven't been offered for many years - a small number have been running but attracted three to five students," Professor Germov said.

"We've released a whole range of information to our faculty staff on course and subject performance and we're asking them to consider that, in terms of what we could reduce or consolidate.

"We remain committed to our regions; we understand we are an anchor institution in the regions we serve and we are very conscious of the decisions we make."

The NTEU has successfully negotiated for voluntary redundancies and workload changes to be considered in some circumstances.

This story CSU staff 'on tenterhooks', bracing for restructure first appeared on The Border Mail.