Melbourne Uni staff reject losing pay rise

Marnie Banger
University of Melbourne staff have knocked back a proposal to lose a pay rise

Staff at the University of Melbourne have knocked a proposed pay cut and changes to voluntary redundancies provisions as the institution plots its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

University workers would have been stripped of a 2.2 per cent pay rise introduced at the start of May under the proposed changes to their enterprise agreement.

The university says they were aimed at preventing between 200 and 300 forced redundancies.

About half of the staff who were eligible to vote on the proposal did so in a ballot on Wednesday, with 64 per cent of them (5190) voting no.

Another 2879 staff voted in favour.

The union argues the university has more than enough cash reserves to deal with the financial fallout of COVID-19, including lower revenue from fees in 2020.

The National Tertiary Education Union suspect the vice chancellor will try to make staff pay for the impacts of coronavirus.

"We will continue to campaign at the University of Melbourne against job losses, pay cuts, and restructures," National Councillor and University of Melbourne branch committee member Katie Wood said.

"We encourage our colleagues across the sector to vote no on their campuses as well. If you don't fight, you lose."

University of Melbourne Vice Chancellor Duncan Maskell said the vote won't change the institution's ability to survive COVID-19, but will make the task more challenging, with job losses inevitable.

Senior leaders will continue to plan the university's recovery.

"As I have said previously, we cannot live beyond our means. We are facing a large reduction in our recurrent revenue and therefore quite simply have to reduce our recurrent expenditure," Professor Maskell said.