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Massey University staff 'furious' about further cuts, union says

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Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Massey University staff are angry further cuts have been announced without any prior consultation, a union says.

The union says it has been told by staff that around 125 jobs will be affected across the Library, College of Health, and College of Sciences.

Tertiary Education Union organiser Ben Schmidt said members were "absolutely shocked and infuriated".

He said Vice Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas was "calling for voluntary redundancies across all Massey University campuses, with 90 to 100 jobs on the line in the sciences, 15 to 20 in health and some in the libraries as well".

Schmidt said those in the sciences were particularly furious about the cuts, as years of ongoing cuts preceded the announcement.

They would undermine the programmes on offer and further increase already unsafe workloads for many staff in those areas, he said.

The cuts come despite a recent cash injection from the government, in response to the sector's funding woes.

"It is unbelievably short-sighted of the vice chancellor to keep slashing jobs across the university when the government has allocated a significant amount of new money intended to stop the cuts, along with an upcoming review of tertiary funding," Schmidt said.

"Jan Thomas has repeatedly failed to front up and meet with the staff of the university about this, or provide any clear and transparent information to justify it," he said.

Schmidt said Thomas needed to front up with staff and engage in transparent and meaningful consultation, then work with the union and the government to find a more constructive way forward.

Massey University has been contacted for comment.

The announced cuts come as academics warn other universities cutting languages threatens New Zealand's economic and strategic interests.