Staff express stress over restructure

A staff member from La Trobe University Bendigo who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of losing his job has spoken out about the negative affect the restructure negotiations are having on staff.

"We’ve got people off on stress leave. I know there’s five people off in Bendigo alone on stress leave at the moment, and that’s in one small area," he said. 

He said although staff had been warned long ago about position changes and redundancies, it was still very unclear how many jobs would be going from the Bendigo campus.

He said many staff were being asked to re-apply for their own jobs and that those jobs were potentially going to move to other La Trobe University campuses.

"They won’t confirm that the staff will still be here in Bendigo. And staff have to apply for their own jobs but we’re not being told where the jobs are across the university, and where staff have to apply for their positions. It could be Albury/Wodonga, Shepparton or Bundoora.

He said the university's restructure was an "attack on regional campuses" and a "disproportionate loss of positions from Bendigo".

"Albury/Wodonga and Shepparton have been decimated," he said.

He is in the process of filling out an expression of interest application to re-apply for his own position. "There’s no guarantee when I apply for my position that it will actually be in Bendigo." 

He said it was like management was saying, "just apply for a position, it doesn’t matter where it is". "I think that’s really stressful for people." 

He also said there was no "loyalty" being shown to staff who had spent decades working for the university.

Pro Vice-Chancellor Richard Speed said length of service would be taken into account in redundancy packages. "Redundancy positions gear up with time served and age. There is recognition that it might be more challenging for older staff." 

The anonymous staff member said the new courses announced by the Bendigo campus on Friday made little sense in the context of proposed staff cuts. "If they’re proposing all these new courses, why won’t they confirm the number of staff that are going from Bendigo?" 

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