More job cuts feared at TAFE

By CAMERON LUCADOU-WELLS

CHISHOLM Institute staff and the Australian Education Union fear the price of ongoing funding cuts at the institute will be more than the 220 jobs slashed last week.

Greg Barclay, the Australian Education Union deputy vice-president for TAFEs, expected there would be a “hidden toll” of to-be-culled casual staff not included in the official figures.

They, together with dismissed contract staff, won’t qualify for redundancy payouts.

About 60 per cent of staff at Australian TAFEs are employed on a non-permanent basis, a 2011 Productivity Commission report into vocational education and training shows.

At a press conference last week, Chisholm chief executive Maria Peters said she did not know the make-up of Chisholm’s workforce, and ordered her PR adviser not to “follow that up”.

Ms Peters had broken news of the job cuts to staff from its south-east campuses at a meeting at Chisholm’s Dandenong campus last Tuesday. She said Chisholm had suffered $30 million in funding cuts since last November. Its response was to slash its 1600 workforce and cut 27 courses.

Most of the casualties will be teaching staff, as well as about four directors and 10 managers, a staff member claimed after the meeting.

Some determined staff members vowed to the Weekly they would continue to provide a “quality education”.

“Chisholm is here to stay,” a teacher said.

Another said he was most concerned about the casual “sessionals”.

“They won’t get a package and they’ll be the first to go,” he said. “There will be more cuts.

They’re just peeling back the layers.”

Doubts have also been raised about the survival of courses that will not receive state “resource allocation” in 2013.

These include business administration and legal services, sport and fitness, food and meat processing, marketing, liberal arts, ceramics and areas of hospitality and events.

Staff have a week to apply for a voluntary redundancy. Ms Peters expected another round of culls would still be needed to meet the required level.

Ms Peters said Chisholm’s transformative strategy, coined in 2009, hadn’t changed for next year. “We’re still operating 230 courses. In 2013, we might be smaller but I’m confident the business will grow very quickly.”

Ms Peters said no campuses would close next year.

However, a state cabinet report leaked late last week on Chisholm’s transition plan stated a decision on whether to close its Mornington Peninsula, Cranbourne and Bass Coast colleges would be made in the coming year.

Your first stop before buying a home. View the whole picture.