La Trobe uni staff feeling concerned

LA TROBE University’s Bendigo staff are feeling anxious and concerned in light of Friday’s announcement of job cuts, according to the National Tertiary Education Union.

Vice-president (general staff) of the Bendigo NTE Shannon Kerrigan said workers were feeling worried due to the “lack of clarity of who is going to go”.

“We’re waiting for the change impact statement,” she said.

La Trobe announced Friday that it would make 350 staff redundant, or 15 per cent of its workforce.

As La Trobe Bendigo currently employs 500 workers, the campus would stand to lose 75 workers if the 15 per cent cuts were applied.

But Ms Kerrigan also said the general mood among staff wasn’t one of anger.

She said staff had been made aware of the university’s need to find $75 million in savings six months ago and had been given the opportunity to submit proposals to management about how these savings could be found.

“In some regards we can see that there are changes needed because the university has significant needs to improve infrastructure,” she said.

Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said she was meeting with La Trobe vice-chancellor John Dewar on Tuesday.

She said she would ask Professor Dewar whether staff could keep their jobs if more funding was allocated to universities in the federal budget.

“I’m going to be offering him my support around funding to make sure La Trobe gets its fair share,” Ms Chesters said.

“This must be a very difficult time for academics and people employed at the university.

“They must be looking over their shoulder thinking, ‘is today the day I’m going to lose my job?’

President of La Trobe Bendigo Student Association Jessica Robertson said students were concerned about how student services would be affected by the changes.

"We're in a period of uncertainty about what's going to happen to student services, including to courses and delivery methods" she said.

But she also said students had been informed that university was planning to make make structural changes about a year ago and the cuts were not unexpected.

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