University of Tasmania staff have voted in favour of varying their staff agreement to include a 12-month wage freeze and other cost-saving measures to save jobs.
The university has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic with Vice-Chancellor Rufus Black earlier this month revealing the institution was facing revenue losses of $30 to $34 million in 2020 and between $60 to $100 million per year across 2021 and 2022.
When outlining the proposed package, which was agreed with the leadership of the National Tertiary Education Union and the Community and Public Sector Union, Professor Black said the measures were expected to save about 50 jobs.
In an email to staff on Wednesday, Professor Black said staff had strongly supported the package.
He said more than 53 per cent of eligible staff had voted on the package and of these 90 per cent voted yes and 10 per cent voted no.
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"That people have so strongly supported sharing the burden of the of the impact [of COVID-19] to save jobs through wage restraint - forgoing the planned 2 per cent salary increase and deferring pay increases associated with promotion and incremental progression - is a mark of the strength of our community," Professor Black said.
"We are deeply grateful for the way people have engaged in this process, attended information sessions, asked questions and provided honest and constructive feedback about our proposed approach."
Professor Black said he had met with union leaders on Wednesday morning to sign the formal variation of the UTAS Staff Agreement 2017-2021 which would be lodged with FairWork Australia.
"The Fair Work Commissioner will consider and assess the variation before delivering a final determination," he said.
"This can sometimes be a lengthy process and it usually takes about three weeks."
Professor Black said during this time the university would be developing a framework and supporting processes for offering voluntary measures to reduce the size of the institution's staff, such as early retirements or voluntary redundancies.
"We will provide more details about this soon," he said.