Massey University staff to hold stop-work meeting over proposed changes

Massey's Albany campus.
Massey's Albany campus. Photo credit: Google Maps

Members of the Tertiary Education Union will down tools for two hours on all three Massey University campuses.

Affected staff met this week to discuss plans to scrap the Bachelor of Science degree at the Albany campus and several science majors at others. 

Union organiser Heather Warren says affected members are incredibly angry and disappointed.

"They feel incredibly frustrated that they are contributing so much to the university and it feels like it's not enough."

She says the union won't stand by and watch Massey senior leadership cut back opportunities for students.

Massey wants to cut costs by $18 million a year, NZME reported in February, and roll out a new online-focused 'digital-plus' strategy, which it says will "allow the university to better align its research and teaching expertise by creating greater critical mass in areas of research excellence"

"This is about Massey University future-proofing itself as an organisation," provost Giselle Byrnes said when the moves were first announced at the end of January.

"We need to ensure our academic offering is future-focused, sustainable and making the most efficient use of precious publicly funded resources. 

"Most students, whether school leavers or mature students, now opt to study in blended and flexible mode. Domestic students can no longer be defined as being 'on campus' or 'online'. These distinctions are becoming increasingly blurred as students choose a more flexible approach to their learning."

Massey also says more than half the qualifications it offers are taken by only 5 percent of students, and it's "resource-intensive to maintain so many discrete qualifications and specialisations". 

But Warren says staff are confused by the new plans.

"The digital-plus strategy that staff in general don't know what it is."

A stop-work meeting is to be held in April to discuss whether the changes are justified.

"To essentially say hey, if we don't make a stand and let the employer know right now how we feel, things will change at this university and we won't be able to stop it." 

The meeting will take place on April 12.