Charles Sturt University rejects national job protection plan to save higher education jobs

JOB CUTS: Charles Sturt University is suffering an $80 million loss in revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: JUDE KEOGH
JOB CUTS: Charles Sturt University is suffering an $80 million loss in revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

CHARLES Sturt University (CSU) has rejected a union and institution-wide national plan aimed at preventing job cuts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The economic fall out from the virus crisis will see a sector-wide revenue loss of up to $5 billion this year and more in subsequent years, due to a collapse in international and domestic enrolments, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) says.

Last month CSU said it was grappling with an $80 million loss in revenue and that its first round of job cuts would be announced this month, with a second round of "workforce changes" expected in early 2021.

The NTEU proposed a 5-15 per cent pay cut for full-time staff for one year in the hope it would save 12,000 jobs nationwide.

CSU vice chancellor Professor Andrew Vann said the proposed deal was complex and required compromise not acceptable to the university.

Our financial position and the impacts of COVID-19 means we need to resolve our structural problems ... we regret this will result in job losses.

Charles Sturt University vice chancellor Professor Andrew Vann

He said restrictions that the NTEU insisted on in relation to forced redundancies created uncertainty compared to the known mechanisms of the university's existing enterprise agreement.

"Our financial position and the impacts of COVID-19 means we need to resolve our structural problems ... we regret this will result in job losses," Prof Vann said.

"While the 2019 Charles Sturt Annual Report, published June 4, 2020, shows a small surplus, we are projecting a significant deficit and revenue loss in 2020, primarily as a result of the impacts of COVID-19 which has exacerbated previous issues."

Prof Vann said in line with CSU's Sustainable Futures program, the university was transforming to reshape and reposition in order to deliver excellence while ensuring its future is financially and academically sustainable.

"We aim to develop an operating model across our courses and campuses that is viable, market responsive and drives excellence," he said.

"Similarly, we must ensure financial sustainability and a return to a balanced budget by the end of 2021 in order to continuing delivering advanced higher education and research opportunities for the people of regional Australia."

In CSU's statement on jobs cuts last month, it did not provide information on how many staff and which campuses would be impacted.

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This story CSU rejects national job protection plan to save staff first appeared on Daily Liberal.