The current enterprise agreements were approved by the Fair Work Commission in March 2019. The 2018 enterprise agreements replace the 2014 agreements. Our enterprise agreements are advisory committees in which elected staff members work with executives on specific issues. The current enterprise agreements were approved by the Fair Work Commission in March 2019. After negotiations on the recruitment agreement failed in the following months, Vice-Chancellor Alex Zelinsky said $35 million needed to be saved by December. The Staff also expressed concern about the Lack of Community Input and stated that all decisions taken would have an impact on one of the largest employers and educators in the region. After several interviews with collaborators, ABC Newcastle interviewed four academics who wanted to share their feelings anonymously. The university confirmed that five faculties in three groups, that staff were to take an additional 10 days off in 2021 and that a pre-retirement plan would be proposed for workers over the age of 55. “Every school was told, `You can spend a maximum of X dollars per student,` regardless of the type of student, and it propelled everything.
The CBA sent a number of questions to the Vice-Chancellor`s office, but none were asked. Since then, however, the university has given few details of the plan, except that at least 500 courses are considered cut or consolidated. Our enterprise agreements establish advisory committees in which elected staff representatives work with leaders on specific issues. The 2018 enterprise agreements replace the 2014 agreements. In May, the university announced that this year`s pandemic would result in a loss of $58 million in revenue and that a number of changes would be made to deal with the blow. “Basically, they say, “What is the smallest number of subjects we can give someone and call them a diploma again?” Another academic said he didn`t think the so-called course optimization process would improve a bit. One teacher said that the pandemic was a unique opportunity to change attitudes, but that it was not the cause of change. He said the proposals that the university would end the year with a surplus despite the effects of COVID-19 were “particularly boring.” “If a course doesn`t cut the doldrums despite its importance, they just want to hack it.” So the university wants to save $35 million a year in the future,” he said. When asked what the mood was like, they used all the words like “poor,” “low moral,” “disappointing” and “difficult.” An associate professor, who had worked at the university for several decades, said the institution had reached the deepest point in its history. “For those who stay, there will be far less choice for students what they do,” he said. Newcastle University employees say they are frustrated by the details and uncertainty they think are ready and that the changes by the end of the year will lead to program shutdowns and faculty mergers.
“The number of courses to be reduced is exceptional,” she said. The academic said there was no trust and more open conversations were needed, rather than newsletters and emails. Another associate professor noted that the university wanted to save money by encouraging older workers to think about early retirement instead of offering layoffs.