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Australia Swinburne staff warned of job cuts as universities' COVID-19 woes grow

02:26  04 june  2020
02:26  04 june  2020 Source:   theage.com.au

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Swinburne University has warned staff to brace for job losses as it faces a deficit of more than 0 million due to a reduction in overseas students caused by the coronavirus crisis. A week after Deakin University announced it would cut 400 positions, Swinburne has followed step, telling staff it must

Swinburne University in Melbourne has warned staff to brace for job losses as it faces a deficit of more than 0 million due to a reduction in overseas students caused by the coronavirus crisis. Swinburne University vice-chancellor Linda Kristjanson. Credit: Photo: Eddie Jim.

Digital Tablet and Eyeglasses On Books in Public Library © Tashi-Delek Digital Tablet and Eyeglasses On Books in Public Library Swinburne University has warned staff to brace for job losses as it faces a deficit of more than $150 million due to a reduction in overseas students caused by the coronavirus crisis.

A week after Deakin University announced it would cut 400 positions, Swinburne has followed step, telling staff it must "consider difficult decisions" to ensure its financial viability.

Victorian universities are reeling from the loss of international students since the coronavirus pandemic crunched the sector this year.

Monash University has also told staff it expects a $350 million downturn this year, followed by an even bigger financial hit in 2021.

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"As a result of COVID-19, Monash has faced its largest annual reductions in revenue in the university's history, and it is likely that next year will be worse," vice-chancellor Margaret Gardner said.

Staff at Monash are being urged to sign up to a union-negotiated framework involving temporary pay cuts of up to 15 per cent to avoid widespread job losses.

Swinburne vice-chancellor Professor Linda Kristjanson told staff the university had "initiated consultation on voluntary redundancies" but could not rule out forced redundancies.

"There is a possibility that involuntary redundancies may be required in coming months to meet the changing environment we are now facing, including significantly reduced student numbers and less capital investment," Professor Kristjanson said in an all-staff email on Tuesday.

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The University of Edinburgh has been closely monitoring the Coronavirus ( Covid - 19 ) outbreak and liaising with government and NHS agencies to get their latest advice on The FAQs below provide the latest health advice and support, along with additional guidance for applicants, students and staff .

Southern Cross University staff told have been told: "We are not returning — we never will return — to the way we were before COVID - 19 struck." Professor Shoemaker said the university 's workforce would need to be restructured to help combat the growing funding gap and adapt to survive the

Swinburne projects a deficit of $51 million this year, followed by further losses totalling $101 million in 2021 and 2022.

"The majority of our current expenditure is on salaries and we must now consider difficult decisions to ensure the ongoing financial sustainability and viability of our university," Professor Kristjanson said.

Hundreds of staff at Deakin University learnt this week that their positions had been made redundant, while others were told to reapply for their jobs as part of a redundancy process staff have dubbed the "hunger games".

More than 120 Deakin employees signed a letter to vice-chancellor Iain Martin condemning the "disturbing and insulting" way redundancies are being handled.

"We categorically reject the notion that consultation' might consist [of] calling staff whose names are on a pre-prepared hit-list into a meeting (with no support person) to justify why their position should not be eliminated," the staff wrote to Professor Martin.

Loss in revenue to help 'bloated' tertiary institutions to 'trim the fat'

  Loss in revenue to help 'bloated' tertiary institutions to 'trim the fat' Adoni Media Managing Director Leisa Goddard says Australian universities need to approach the loss of international student markets and subsequent reduction in revenue as a fat-cutting exercise. The Australian is reporting, “Education Minister Dan Tehan will stare down universities pleading for urgent government support, as vice-chancellors warn that Australia’s research capacity will be devastated if they don’t secure additional funding”.Ms Goddard said “the universities are clearly in trouble because they have had their international student pool dry up”.

COVID - 19 is a pandemic that illustrates how globally interconnected we are – there is no longer such a thing as isolated issues and actions. Successful people in the coming decades need to be able to understand this interrelatedness and navigate across boundaries to leverage their differences and

Warning of tens of thousands of jobs at risk over the next three years with modelling predicting international student numbers struggling to recover.

The National Tertiary Education Union has compiled a list of redundancies at Deakin University, which will cut 400 positions, including making 300 current roles redundant and not filling 100 vacant roles.

Staff in non-academic positions have been heavily targeted in the cuts. For example, 45 of 310 positions at Deakin's "global engagement" portfolio, which promotes the university to the world, will be slashed. Forty-five "E-solutions" jobs and 34 jobs in infrastructure and property will go.

Melbourne is home to three of the most vulnerable universities in Australia - La Trobe, RMIT and Monash - according to a recent report by the University of Melbourne's Centre for the Study of Higher Education.

La Trobe staff will vote this week on a proposal to accept temporary pay cuts of up to 15 per cent to ward off the loss of 600 to 800 jobs.

La Trobe, which is facing revenue losses of between $400 and $520 million by 2022, on Wednesday expressed confidence it would reach a deal with its banks.

"We are in productive and on-going discussions with our three banks for increased facilities and we believe we will meet our funding requirements," Vice Chancellor John Dewar said.

La Trobe and RMIT universities facing significant financial challenges in coronavirus fallout

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COVID - 19 is a new disease and we are learning more about it every day. Information is available in multiple languages. Given the high risk of spread once COVID - 19 enters a long-term care facility (LTCF), facilities must act immediately to protect residents, families, and staff from serious illness

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ANZ is still considering extending by $100 million a credit facility to La Trobe University, while Premier Daniel Andrews said on Wednesday that the state would consider providing additional help to the stricken university.

"It's too important an institution to have coronavirus undermine what is a very important future for education, for employment," Mr Andrews said.

The University of Melbourne expects a revenue shortfall of between $260 million and $320 million this year due to COVID-19, and a larger shortfall next year.

It has asked staff to forgo a previously agreed 2.2 per cent pay rise this year.

Its annual report, tabled in State Parliament on Tuesday, showed the university had a surplus of $74 million last year, before the pandemic hit.

Click here for up-to-date coverage of the COVID-19 crisis on the Microsoft News app — available on Windows 10, iOS and Android

Universities reject China's claim that Australia is not safe for international students .
Australia's elite universities dismiss claims by China's Ministry of Education that it's "risky" for international students to study in the country, saying there is no evidence to support suggestions student safety is under threat.But Group of Eight chief executive Vicki Thomson dismissed Beijing's claims Australia was not safe for international students.

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