NATION

USP Job Losses On The Cards

He said USP would create a new staff review process for contract renewal. And if staff do not meet performance expectations, their contracts would not be renewed.
03 Oct 2020 09:26
USP Job Losses On The Cards
USP’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Pal Ahluwalia.

Job losses look to be on the cards for University of the South Pacific staff despite continuous assurances by Vice Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia.

In a forum held on Tuesday, Professor Ahluwalia told staff that there would be no increment or bonuses until further notice.

He said USP would create a new staff review process for contract renewal.

And if staff do not meet performance expectations, their contracts would not be renewed.

Professor Ahluwalia was asked to confirm whether in the event a contract was not renewed, would the vacant position be filled or scrapped.

In response USP’s executive director People and Workforce Strategy, Jone Maritino Nemani, said contract renewals at USP have always been performance based.

“This is covered in our personnel management handbook as follows: There may be two basic reasons not to renew a contract. Due to unacceptable level of performance; or the position is no longer required because of either financial reasons; or there is no longer a need for a position in that area,” he replied via email.

“USP Senior Management have publicly stated that there will be no job losses except for natural attrition. Contract renewals, as in any other organisation, are matters of discussion between the employer and employee and not for public scrutiny. USP is no different.”

In a report which was prepared by Professor Ahluwalia, titled Reorganising Operations for a Sustainable and Stronger USP, he proposed a number of job cuts and had even earmarked positions which would face the axe.

Following that, Professor Ahluwalia in a press conference had assured that there would be job losses.

In recent development, the Government has suspended its funding grants of around $27.6 million to the university.

This action was taken in light of the lack of investigations into allegations by USP Council chair Winston Thompson and chair of the Council’s Audit and Risk Committee Mehboob Khan.

Government is of the view that 14 of the 33 allegations required independent investigations.

In June, Professor Ahluwalia was suspended by the USP’s executive committee led by Mr Thompson.

He was reinstated after weeks of protests by students and staff.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj



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