Victoria University staff are likely to take industrial action after
what a union is calling the “largest ever mass redundancy” in
Australia’s higher education sector.

University Vice-Chancellor
Professor Elizabeth Harman announced last Friday 250 jobs would be
slashed to prepare itself for future challenges.

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) said it would be recommending industrial action when it met with staff on Monday.

Victorian secretary Matthew McGowan said the university has shown disregard for staff and students in making the decision.

“Such a large number of job losses can only mean increased workloads for remaining staff,” McGowan said.

NTEU will see a collective agreement that would increase rights for
casual staff and put limitations on the use of contracts.

“It is
disappointing that rather than negotiate in good faith, the
Vice-Chancellor and her negotiating team have decided to engage in mass
sackings,” he said.

“This decision by the Vice-Chancellor is a
serious blow to higher education opportunities for students from the
western suburbs. There is no doubt that student services will be
affected, and diversity of courses will reduce.”

He said staff
had been left with no choice but to take industrial action, because
management had refused to treat the bargaining process with respect.

He called on Harman to come to the negotiating table in good faith.

at Victoria’s Deakin University also will be considering taking
industrial action at a meeting next week, after negotiations over a new
collective agreement failed.