Students and staff protest against BIP

Thursday, 23 October, 2014

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has protested with students against university staff cuts, stating that executives “couldn’t give a shit” about university operations.

The rally took place late last month. It was the latest action condemning the university’s changes in the Business Improvement Program (BIP) saga. Staff and students gathered outside the Raymond Priestly building to protest against staff cuts caused by the BIP.

NTEU University of Melbourne branch committee member Alex McAulay will be forced to reapply for his current as a university Admissions Officer. He told Farrago the cuts will mean employees’ workloads will be larger. He believes the university is becoming a corporate institution driven by profit.

“I don’t think it’s necessary for the university to undertake this plan,” he said. “It’s a very wealthy institution.”

University’s NTEU branch organiser Sam Maynard said many BIPs proposals are extreme.

She said the BIP has shown the university’s “incompetence, arrogance, and senior management who couldn’t give a shit about how the university operates.’

The NTEU also condemns the merging of all student centres, claiming it will be inefficient and less effective in providing student specialised assistance.

The University’s BIP includes the proposal to make approximately 500 professional staff redundant. Most of these cuts will come from individual student faculty centres as the university merges all centres into one.

The NTEU believes that the BIP proposals will greatly affect staff and students. The NTEU has hosted  various rallies have been hosted by the NTEU on campus in protest of these job cuts, with  the most recent being on the late last month.

It has also been announced that salaries will be reduced for some professional staff positions as staff will be assisting others in a more general field; rather than providing the specialised information they do currently.

It has been reported from NTEU that the Program model is being created by external multinational consultants. Furthermore, very little consideration followed the 600 letters in opposition to the Program.

Maynard fears that the reputation of those who’ve already graduated from university will be damaged.

A spokesperson from the university said the university “recognises” staff concerns:

“The university recognises that staff and students have been affected by the complex change processes of the Business Improvement Program.”

The spokesperson also said: “Designing and implementing new professional staff structures across the university is an enormous undertaking.  We remain committed to doing this consistently, transparently and in a manner that accords with good HR practice throughout the process.”

‘Over time, the quality of the courses will suffer. That’s how you go from a world-class university into a busted degree factory. And the University of Melbourne has joined the race to the bottom.’