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University to launch voluntary redundancy program, Executive to take 20% pay cut

The decision comes in response to the expected revenue downfall in 2021.

In an email sent to all staff this afternoon, Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence has announced two financial decisions to be undertaken by the University in response to the expected revenue downfall precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first is that all members of the University Executive, including the Vice-Chancellor, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Vice-Principals, Executive Dean and Deans, will take a 20% salary cut for the year 2020.

The second is the launch of a voluntary redundancy program, which will be offered to staff on fixed term contracts with more than 6 months of their contract remaining. The email notes that the program is only in a ‘preliminary consultation’ process, and that there is no target currently set for the number of redundant roles that the program intends to achieve. The program is expected to be complete by November, with staff departing from the end of this year into next.

The justification provided for these further financial austerity measures is the continuing impacts of the pandemic going into 2021, especially in relation to restrictions on international travel. As a result, only 65% of the planned number of commencing international students are expected to enrol next year.

However, due to a lack of access to the University’s financial modelling, it is unclear what exact impact the voluntary redundancy program will have alongside Executive salary cuts in saving jobs and staff hours.

Honi contacted the University for comment, who could not provide anything beyond the text of the original email from Spence.

The decision follows proposed 30% staff cuts in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences as well as a hiring freeze on all new staff appointments.

Honi has reached out to the USyd branch of the NTEU for comment. This article will be updated if and when it is received.