The University of Wollongong says it will begin a program of broad institutional change, to address the financial impact of COVID-19.
The decision comes after management and unions, were unable to reach consensus on a viable option to reduce costs and minimise job losses, by temporarily varying current employment agreements. In a message to staff, Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings expressed his sincere disappointment at the outcome of the discussions and outlined the way forward.
In a press release from the Uni, Professor Wellings says, “In good faith, University management carefully considered the requests of unions, and offered potential solutions to issues raised, but ultimately these variations do not address the reality of the threats to UOWs ongoing sustainability.
“The University’s operations and staff cost more than $12M per week. For this reason, we cannot delay our decision making any longer. We have arrived now at a point where implementing Option 3 is the only way forward. “I am deeply disappointed with this outcome as I had hoped to reach an alternative agreement that minimises job losses,” Professor Wellings said.
Without an agreed position supported by local unions, the University will not ask staff to vote on a formal proposal to vary existing enterprise agreements. The Uni added that, "should key positions put by unions change, the University remains willing and ready to continue to discuss and consult with both unions about strategies that make employment-related savings that preserve as many jobs as possible at the University."
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