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UTS to sack virologists and climate scientists as 60 jobs go

The latest cuts come on top of more than 350 voluntary redundancies at UTS last year.

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) will cut around 60 full-time jobs in the latest round of cuts to hit Australian universities.

The latest cuts come on top of more than 350 voluntary redundancies at UTS last year.

Change proposals have been sent to five faculties, including the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Business, and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Honi has previously reported that management were seeking to cut $3.2m in FASS alone

Damien Cahill, the NTEU NSW Secretary said that “the cuts will target disciplines that are critical for Australia’s future, such as virology, biomedical, climate and environmental science. Positions in Teacher Education are also under threat despite the major shortage of school teachers in NSW.”

“These cuts are destructive and short-sighted.”

A UTS spokesperson told Honi that UTS “ended 2020 with a deficit of $43.1m” and that deficits were expected to grow this year and next: “current modelling suggests that we won’t break even until at least 2023 or return to surplus until at least 2024.”

“The University greatly regrets any job losses, and has been working hard to minimise them through savings in other areas.”

By contrast, the NTEU said that the cuts were “unnecessary.” “Revenue at UTS fell by only 5% last year. The University is not in financial crisis and there are alternatives to job cuts.”

NTEU UTS Branch President Sarah Attfield said “there is no financial justification for cutting jobs…These staff are essential for the students they teach and for the important research they conduct. UTS is failing students and the wider community by considering these potential redundancies.” 

UTS Students’ Association Education Officer Ellie Woodward told Honi that “UTS management don’t care about our education, they care about profits. These cuts are a choice, not a product of UTS being a poor institution. Because it is most certainly not. Students stand with staff and we will do all through the EBA period this year.”

The job cuts at UTS are the latest in a long line of redundancies in recent months. Since July, Honi has reported on job losses at Adelaide University (130 jobs); La Trobe (300 jobs); Newcastle University (150 jobs); Macquarie University (34 jobs, including the entire Environmental Sciences department); and the University of Western Australia (16 jobs, with Anthropology and Sociology to be cut entirely).

On 26th August at 3pm, the UTS Education Action Group will host an online staff and student forum to discuss responses to the cuts.

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