University of Wollongong staff say they are in the dark about the possibility of further job cuts, despite a series of employees accepting voluntary retirement.
In November, senior management unveiled its new "One-UOW" plan, with outgoing Vice-Chancellor Paul Wellings raising the possibility of further staff cuts in the wake of declining revenue.
UOW staff expressed concerns that despite their sacrifices to support the university in 2020, the management plan could result in many more jobs being lost at UOW in 2021.
Last week, an unknown number of academics and professional staff left the university under the Voluntary Early Retirement Scheme.
National Tertiary Education Union branch committee member at UOW, Professor Fiona Probyn-Rapsey said UOW management had not yet told staff how many had left under the scheme.
"Other universities, such as the University of Sydney have released exact numbers of staff who have left under similar schemes," she said.
"We are concerned about the level of secrecy - again - that management seems to be working under.
"And we would expect that management would be upfront and open with staff about the losses across the university under that scheme.
"What we don't know is whether the university is going to keep those savings from the scheme, and then seek further staff cuts. And because they haven't been open with us about the numbers, we don't know what their plans are.
"It's cheaper for the university to go with the early retirement scheme, than go with a voluntary redundancy scheme."
Prof Probyn-Rapsey said the staff departures meant decades' worth of experience would be gone, representing a "profound" loss to the university and its students.
A UOW spokesperson said the university obtained approval from the Australian Taxation Office to offer early retirement to professional and academic staff who met specific eligibility criteria.
"UOW was only permitted to make this offer available for a limited period to a maximum of 200 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) places," the spokesperson said.
"That offer has now expired. Participation in the scheme was entirely voluntary and was not fully subscribed.
"The exact number of staff members who have elected to take up the scheme is not being publicly released at this time."
The spokesperson said that "UOW values the contribution of every professional and academic staff member and their skills, experience and expertise will be missed".
"The impact of these departures is being managed through workforce planning, which identifies ways the institution can address any loss of experience or expertise moving forward."
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