University of Wollongong staff are fed up they're the only ones making "financial sacrifices" in the wake of declining revenues.
So UOW National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members involved in the Better University Governance action group (BUG) have come up with an alternative model to save jobs.
BUG member Professor Probyn-Rapsey said the group estimated around $7 million in savings could be found at UOW by reducing executive level salaries and linking them back to a percentage of the maximum pay scales in staff enterprise agreements.
She said it was time the outgoing Vice-Chancellor Paul Wellings and fellow executive officers shared the pain.
"This #EveryoneUOW counter proposal on savings could mean hundreds of staff jobs can be saved as we work back from the impacts of COVID. We will put this and other proposals to senior management in the consultation phase around the One-UOW management cost cutting and job cutting plan," Prof Probyn-Rapsey said.
"Our model seeks to retain professional services staff whose institutional knowledge and expertise are crucial to the successful operation of the university.
"Under 'Every-One-UOW', employee-related savings of at least $7 million are achieved by bringing executive salaries back into line with fellow academic staff pay and conditions."
The VC's current salary is $1.1 million. Under the proposal, the VC would earn a Professorial salary plus 100 per cent, resulting in $750,152 savings per annum.
UOW's eight executives each earn between $349,999 and $699,999.
Under the new plan they would earn a Professorial salary plus 25 per cent, resulting in $2,060,752 savings per annum.
The new plan would also save $712,364 by paying executive deans a Professorial salary plus 20 per cent.
"This would contribute at least $3.5m per annum, or $7m of the $10m being currently sought," Prof Probyn-Rapsey said.
"Further savings could be made by executive academic staff contributing to teaching in their areas of expertise, as well as continuing to maintain research activity.
"In light of salary rationalisation at the executive level, we would also expect significant flow on effects throughout Central Admin.
"Under this plan, no jobs are lost, and core teaching and research business continues unaffected with current levels of support."
UOW staff member Dr Adam Lucas hoped management would back the plan.
"We hope management understands that a cut in an executive salary, many of which sit around half a million dollars, has a very different impact on individuals compared to a professional staff member earning 70k per year, who may be the key or only wage earner in their household and looking at possible unemployment in 2021," Dr Lucas said.
In early November, Prof Wellings informed staff of the university's new approach to deal with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.
He also raised the possibility of further staff cuts and said all staff will be impacted to some degree, either directly or indirectly" by the One-UOW model.
"Under the "One-UOW" model, management seeks a further $10 million in job cuts over 2021 and 2022. The first round focuses on professional staff at the School and Faculty level, in what many perceive as a cruel process whereby some staff have to compete against each other for fewer jobs," Prof Probyn-Rapsey said.
In 2020, UOW staff reluctantly accepted reductions to their pay and conditions in order to save 200 of the 350 jobs that management said would have to go.
"This, we agreed, would contribute an estimated $38m in savings. On top of this, an early retirement scheme has seen a further $12.2m in savings from 2021 onwards," she said.
"Staff at UOW who agreed to sacrifice their pay and conditions to save 200 of the 350 jobs are very close to living up to their end of the bargain......but it appears not all staff have been making sacrifices."
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