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Over 100 departments impacted by VR program; staff bullied by senior management

The latest developments in ongoing job cuts saga.

107 departments to be affected by Voluntary Redundancy program

On Tuesday, staff were informed that 107 departments at USyd will likely be impacted by the University’s Voluntary Redundancy (VR) program. This includes departments in all faculties and schools.

These departments will either experience staff cuts, or be ‘restructured’ to remove currently unused positions and reallocate work.

Last week, it was announced that 252 Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the VR program have been accepted. These EOIs have proceeded to the consultation phase, where the University will assess the impact of the proposed redundancies on relevant work units.

The university is now seeking “feedback” from relevant staff until Monday 14 December before the proposed VRs are finalised on 21 December.

Survey reveals staff experienced fear, intimidation and bullying by university management

A survey released by Defend Medical Science Education has revealed that 69% of staff in the University’s School of Medical Sciences (SOMS) experienced “fear, intimidation or bullying” by senior management. 

Of the 134 staff that participated in the survey,  86% of them felt as though their job was at risk this year, 89% thought senior management were not supporting staff adequately, and 92% of staff also thought that senior management “did not have a good understanding of the area they work in.”

“In the coming period, management will undoubtedly blame staff for the problems that arise from the cuts” reads a statement by Defend Medical Science Education.

“This survey shows management have been overwhelmingly condemned in the eyes of those qualified in the discipline and have resorted to bullying to crush legitimate dissent.” 

These findings come in light of proposed staff cuts to SOMS. This includes decreasing 35% and 69% of full-time equivalent positions in the Physiology and Pathology departments respectively.

Austerity Christmas: NTEU takes action to defend higher education

Photography: Deaundre Espejo

On Wednesday, staff and students gathered  as part of ‘Christmas Without Presents’, the NTEU USyd branch’s final action for the year.

“As a community of unionists and activists, we’ve had a really tough year,” said union member Sophia Davidson Gluyas.

She condemned ongoing university restructuring, including VRs and staff cuts, which have particularly impacted the University’s Indigenous support programs, campus assist offices, international housing, learning centres, and the School of Medical Science. 

“We all know what this is about. Management wants to pay us less and it’s just gross,” she said. 

Another union member, Dani Cotton, noted that it is “one struggle and one fight” between casuals and permanent staff. “They can only cut permanent jobs because they know they can fill it with casuals who aren’t paid for all the work they do.”

“We are not sitting down and patiently waiting to discuss with [management], listening to your lies. We have been fighting back all this year and you can expect it again next year,” they said.

The staff then put on a “political pantomime” called “Austerity Christmas,” which included an impression skit of outgoing Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence and poetry by Toby Fitch, before marching down Eastern Avenue.

Ending at the F23 Administration Building, SOMS Associate Professor Bill Phillips addressed the crowd: “Managerialism is like a cancer. It grows and it spreads unless you do something to counter it.”

“We need to work together, like the lymphocytes of the body, to defend the healthy workplaces we work in from this malignant managerialism.”

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