LA TROBE University has told staff there will be more voluntary redundancies and job losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The university's Vice-Chancellor John Dewar told staff via email the institution was facing a shortfall of between $33 million to $63 million in 2020.
He said La Trobe would begin asking staff for expressions of interest in voluntary redundancy and pre-retirement contract programs. More details about the programs would be released on Wednesday.
Professor Dewar said it was estimated the voluntary redundancies could save the university a further $5 million, reducing the gap to between $28m and $58m.
He said with staff costs equating to about 60 per cent of the university's budgeted expenditure, it was "inevitable" that jobs would be cut.
"If we closed the gap entirely through staff savings, this would be the financial equivalent of about 200 to 400 jobs," Professor Dewar told staff. "This is about six to 12 per cent of our workforce.
"This does not mean that we will lose this number of roles but it gives you an indication of the scale of the challenge we face to bridge the budget gap caused by this crisis."
La Trobe has already cut 'non-essential' casual staff to manage the financial pressure as a result of the pandemic. The university was also deemed ineligible for the government's JobKeeper scheme.
Professor Dewar said the university was facing an even larger shortfall in 2021 - between $80 million and $115 million.
He said that would be the financial equivalent of between 600 to 800 jobs, or 18 to 24 per cent of the university's staff.
Professor Dewar said he and other university vice-chancellors were negotiating with the National Tertiary Education Union to agree to the Australian Universities Job Protection Scheme.
The scheme, which will be announced later this week, would require the support of staff in a vote.
The scheme would allow for measures including pay reductions, and pay and increment freezes.
Professor Dewar said if staff supported the scheme, it was estimated about $30 million could be saved for the rest of the year, equating to about 200 jobs.
"If we do not close the budget gap through this suite of cost-saving measures, we will have no alternative but to consider further job losses," he said.
But Professor Dewar said the university was viewing job cuts as a "last resort".
"I want to assure you that we will be doing everything we can to find the necessary additional revenue or cost savings to mitigate job losses," he said.
"Even so, La Trobe University in the post-COVID-19 world will not look the same as we do now, or as we did last year.
"We will inevitably become a smaller institution, but with the right strategy, we can also become a stronger one."
A university spokesperson said La Trobe would also continue to support its regional campuses, including Bendigo.
"While La Trobe faces a significant revenue shortfall this year and in 2021, we will be doing everything we can to find the additional revenue or cost savings to mitigate job losses across all of our campuses," the spokesperson said.
"The focus of our post-COVID 19 strategy will be on areas that define us and that includes our regional campuses, which are crucial to La Trobe's values and mission to provide access to quality higher education for all."
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