Unitec staff voice their concerns over proposed restructure

Unitec staff voice their concerns over proposed restructure

12247809_982287281809800_3043309720909885179_o.jpg

Tertiary Education Union Unitec branch president Sid Aksoy says staff moral is very low.

(Reprinted from Stuff)

More than 225 people could lose their jobs in a major overhaul of the Unitec Mt Albert campus. Alastair Lynn reports

Unitec academics fear a restructure is just the beginning of further privatisation.

On November 6 Unitec announced 225 roles will made redundant or disestablished as part of plans to outsource student services and replace traditional faculties with eight new 'networks' more closely aligned with key industry sectors.

At least 55 staff will lose their jobs by May 2016 when Unitec's Student Services Model is taken over by Concentrix.

Tertiary Education Union Unitec branch president Sid Aksoy says the move indicates more privatisation could be coming.

"All the guns are cocked and someone is going to pull the trigger. 

"I can't see how we can cater in a successful and meaningful way for the needs of students by decreasing staff. 

"This is just the start and we are the spearhead."

Unitec chief executive Rick Ede says the institution has had long-standing relationships with private companies delivering services to students. 

"The new agreement with Concentrix is the next step in an established and successful relationship."

The Auckland tertiary institution's job cuts are part of its $250 million Mt Albert campus redevelopment project.

A further 32 positions will be made redundant as Unitec seeks to align teaching practices more closely with the industry.

The new networks would lead to the creation of 52 new positions, Ede says.

However, Aksoy says these new approaches will impact on the quality of teaching.

"They will be decreasing the face-to-face hours and put more in to online teaching," he says.

"Technologies are only a tool to aid teaching, but they are not a replacement for teachers."

Ede says Unitec has been working through concerns of staff and students for the past year.

"The result of these discussions went out for formal consultation in August with a four-to-five week formal consultation period."

Aksoy says staff feel largely ignored in the process.

"We are not opposed to change," he says. "They said we were only allowed one month to appeal, that's all.

"I haven't seen staff this disillusioned in my eight years. We find it really demeaning that we are not being listened to."