USyd outsources student accommodation operation to Unilodge
Unilodge will now manage the day-to-day operations of university-owned accommodation, such as The Regiment, Abercrombie and the Queen Mary Building on Camperdown/Darlington campus.
The University of Sydney has released plans to outsource campus accommodation operations to Unilodge in a change plan released on the staff intranet earlier this week.
Unilodge will now manage the day-to-day operations of university-owned accommodation, such as The Regiment, Abercrombie and the Queen Mary Building on Camperdown/Darlington campus. The operational and residential life teams will continue to assist with sales, systems, customer service, residential life, and safety and wellbeing.
Unilodge will take on responsibility for maintenance, except for the Darlington Terraces and Darlington house which will be passed on to Unilodge following renovation. This means that all accommodation on the University’s main campus will soon be operated by Unilodge.
Unilodge is a ‘white label operator’ of student residences across Australia, meaning that despite taking on operational duties, ownership and landlord obligations remain with the associated Universities.
A number of staff roles will be made redundant as part of the changes. In a draft change plan, the University listed that twelve administration jobs would be made redundant following the transition, however Honi has not yet seen documents from the most recent version of the plan.
Submissions to University management from impacted staff were included in the draft change plan. One staff member reported “With the high turnover of [Unilodge] staff, this causes issues with operational knowledge and poor student experience for the residents”
Another submission reported “the new possible options does not consider the loss of expertise that would result from losing 12 permanent University staff positions, which includes staff members that have many years of experience and expertise running Student
Accommodation operations at The University of Sydney”
A University of Sydney spokesperson told Honi, “Any staff whose roles are made redundant will be priority assessed for new roles in the new structure.”
Jordan Anderson, Student Accommodation Officer at the SRC, stated “it does not surprise me in the slightest that USyd management have decided to outsource their day-to-day operation of student accommodation to UniLodge in their extremely transparent endeavours to prioritise profits over the livelihoods of struggling students. This follows management selling off millions of accommodation in the context of the most dire housing and cost of living crisis, where students are struggling to make ends meet while attempting to balance the load of full-time Uni.”
In 2021, former student residential assistants at the University of Canberra launched a class action lawsuit against UniLodge and partnered universities (including the University of Sydney) for alleged wage theft. At the time, Rahul Bedi, a senior associate of Adero Law, the firm leading the case, said “These kinds of class actions are deeply concerning when a university seeks to wash its hand entirely of systemic exploitation in their own campus.”