IPC stays silent as staff laid off

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 07:38 14/03/2014

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A shakeup at Palmerston North's International Pacific College has seen staff lose their jobs or walk out while the education institute's executives keep quiet on the changes.

IPC's chief operating officer Ichizo Murakami confirmed before Christmas that IPC is undergoing an organisational restructure in a bid to turn around an operational deficit, but has refused to say how deep the financial hole is.

He said last year management were looking at more efficient ways of managing costs, which could include redundancies.

The institute employs more than 100 teaching and administration staff.

The Manawatu Standard understands five workers have been laid off or have left IPC since the start of the year.

A source, who has connections to the institute and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said redundancies had occurred and other staff had left.

Mr Murakami declined to comment yesterday.

IPC president Wayne Edwards would not be drawn on restructure details, directing inquiries to Mr Murakami.

"Restructuring is not easy and, although not directly involved in it, I'm fully sensitive to the impact of such developments on individuals, especially in a small institution like IPC," he said.

Documents viewed by the Standard comparing an operational structure from April 2012 with December 2013 revealed more support for IPC's Japan-based chairman Hiroshi Ohashi but fewer positions in contracted services such as catering and maintenance.

IPC's governing body, Japan-based Soshi Educational Group, employed Mr Murakami three years ago and tasked him with keeping the institute sustainable.

To do so Mr Murakami has said student numbers need to be boosted to more than 400.

According to figures released by IPC last year, this may be hard to achieve as international enrolment numbers dwindle. In 2003 there were 229 international enrolments, but that dropped to 109 in 2011 and rose to 167 last year.

Mr Murakami has said the aim is to keep IPC open, with top-class international education the priority.

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- Manawatu Standard

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