University of Otago confirm mass job losses video

HAMISH MCNEILLY/STUFF

Tertiary Education Union organiser Shaun Scott on job losses at the Otago of University.

The University of Otago has confirmed it is cutting 160 full-time equivalent jobs.

The job losses come in the same year food giant Mondelez announced it would end Cadbury production in Dunedin with the loss of 350 jobs.

Otago University originally proposed axing 182 positions as part of a re-configuration of support services, but vice-chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne confirmed on Thursday afternoon that 160 jobs would go.

University of Otago Clocktower
HAMISH MCNEILLY/STUFF

University of Otago Clocktower

"There is no doubt that feedback from staff has strengthened the business model that I presented today," she said in a statement.

Tertiary Education Union organiser Shaun Scott said while the union was pleased fewer people would be made redundant, it was still a "drastic cut".

READ MORE:
Staff 'shocked' at size of cuts
Cuts likely for PE department at the University of Otago  
Drop of 1000 students prompts likely humanities cuts

The total number of people losing jobs may be higher than 160, with no head count given by the tertiary institution, and a "hell of a lot of people" would be affected regardless, he said.

Hayne said more than 600 submissions were received and much of the feedback from staff was "constructive" and supportive of the proposed shared services model.

"There is wide recognition that we need to change the way we do business in several areas and we need to focus our collective efforts to get this right."

The university needed to provide a more seamless experience for students and resources for that would be increased, Hayne said.

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"I appreciate that staff have engaged in this process in such high numbers and the quality of submissions was valuable.

"I am more confident than ever that we need to make these changes if we are to adapt to the highly complex environment in which we operate."

Many staff declined to comment after Thursday's announcement, but one said the feeling was "subdued".

Dunedin North MP David Clark said he felt for staff and families affected by the announcements.

Many of those people would have mortgages to pay and would have tough decisions to make now, he said.

AT A GLANCE:

*   The University of Otago has about 3800 equivalent full-time general and academic staff and over 18,000 equivalent full-time students.

*   The business case proposes reducing 160 full-time equivalent support services positions.

*   The changes will be made over several years, with processes to confirm staff in current or new roles to be completed by mid-2018.   

*   Redundancy packages, which include up to 45 week's salary, will be determined by length of employment.

 - Stuff

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