11 Apr 2024

Women set to bear brunt of Tertiary Education Commission losses - union

5:28 pm on 11 April 2024
Empty office desks and chairs

Photo: Unsplash

The government agency overseeing universities and polytechnics is cutting 28 roles, mainly held by women.

Staff at the Tertiary Education Commission were told on Wednesday that the jobs to go are mainly administration and clerical positions, executive officers and business support.

Nine are vacant but three-quarters of the remainder are filled by women.

Public Service Association national secretary Kerry Davies feared that pattern would be repeated across other agencies with women bearing the brunt of job cuts.

"Every day we are seeing the price public service workers are paying to fund the government's tax cuts, and these fall disproportionately on work largely carried out by women at TEC.

"We're concerned that this pattern will be replicated across the public service as agencies cut staff."

Wednesday's announcement was "the first round of cuts" ordered by the government to shave spending by 6 percent at the commission, Davies said.

Last year, the commission employed 358 people.

Overall, nearly 1500 public sector jobs are on the block, with more to come.

The Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua has confirmed to RNZ that it will announce changes at one of its branches this week, after affected staff are informed.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga expects to start consultation with staff within weeks.

A spokesperson said its total workforce had already been decreasing over the last six months.

"We are still working on our plan for achieving the departmental savings required by the government. We are not currently consulting staff however we are working towards consultation in the last week of April."

As of June 2023, the ministry employed 383 people.

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