THE University of Ballarat is looking to outsource more jobs, vice-chancellor David Battersby has admitted.
But three unions, who are in negotiations with the university, have said they have been told that an outsourcing proposal would not be considered if they adjusted their salary claims.
In a proposal sent to staff, which The Courier has seen, the university said it had “indicated to the unions that it would consider not proceeding with the partnering proposition, if the unions were prepared to take this into account in settling their salary claims as part of enterprise bargaining”.
Professor Battersby said they were looking at the ‘feasibility’ of outsourcing some activities.
“Partnering relates to outsourcing some of the university services,” Professor Battersby said.
“The university already outsources some of its activity, most to local businesses.
“The university also currently outsources its internal audit functions, some of its specialist legal advice and child-care provision at Horsham. “We have been examining the feasibility of outsourcing some of our other activities.”
Representative’s from the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), United Voice and Australian Workers Union (AWU) spoke to The Courier about their concerns for maintenance, gardening and catering staffs.
NTEU Ballarat industrial organiser, Athan McCaw said they had been told up to 100 non-academic staff could go unless demands for better pay and conditions were dropped.
Mr McCaw said outsourcing option had been on the table for 11 months.
“We have been told that if the university agrees to our salary claims then it will be forced to go through outsourcing,” Mr McCaw said.
But United Voice delegate Roger Castleman said the university failed to offer any guarantees regarding outsourcing even if the pay claims were dropped.
“We just need to get across the uncertainty. It has been going on for 11 months,” Mr Castleman said.
“There are no guarantees and it is hanging over our heads.”
Professor Battersby said the university already outsourced activities including major construction trades, such as plumbing and painting, to local businesses.
However, he said there was no plan to send offshore any of the services or staffing of the university.
Late last year, the university wrote an Expression of Interest inviting organisations “interested in forming a strategic partnership relationship ... in relation to the provision of all university services supporting the core business of teaching, learning and research”.