SCMP Saturday, September 29, 2001

University staff hear of lay-offs option


The Polytechnic University would make its redundancy scheme mandatory if not enough staff left voluntarily following government funding cuts, a university executive said yesterday.
More than 300 employees of the university's estate management office were told of a plan to cut staff and save costs. Similar briefings will be offered to workers from other university divisions.
The university's director of human resources, Alan Li, said afterwards there could be mass lay-offs if the staff response to the voluntary scheme was unsatisfactory.
A voluntary early retirement scheme was launched in July open to all 1,800 permanent employees, including academic staff.
However, the university would not say how many had applied for the scheme or how many it was aiming at.
The Government's University Grants Committee will reduce total funding to all tertiary institutions by 5.4 per cent to $33.77 billion until 2004.
At yesterday's meeting, some workers said they were dissatisfied with the compensation package on offer and demanded packages comparable to those offered at other tertiary institutions and government departments.
They also complained to university vice-president Alexander Tsang Hing-chung that they were not given enough time to consider the compensation offer before the invitation to apply closed this weekend.
Under the voluntary scheme, university staff who leave would receive benefits including cash compensation of one month's salary for every two years' service.
A university spokeswoman said the 300 workers who attended yesterday's talk were not being singled out.