SCMP Wednesday, June 27, 2001

University staff offered early retirement


City University's council yesterday endorsed a voluntary retirement scheme for academic and administrative staff in a move to reduce costs following government funding cuts.
It is the first tertiary institution in Hong Kong to offer voluntary redundancy to academic staff in the wake of the Government's decision to cut funding for universities over the next three years.
University chiefs expect the take-up rate to be slow, with fewer than 100 of the institution's 2,600 staff signing up.
The University of Science and Technology, Polytechnic University and Chinese University all unveiled redundancy schemes for their administrative staff in February.
All City University's 2,600 staff - which includes 900 academics - are entitled to apply for voluntary retirement before the end of October.
Employees who volunteer for the scheme will be entitled to compensation amounting to nine months' salary and a further one month for every two years they have served.
The Government announced in February that funding for the SAR's eight tertiary institutions would be slashed by $1.9 billion, or four per cent, to $36.2 billion over the next three academic years.
Professor Wong Yuk-shan, vice-president of City University, said the scheme was not necessarily related to the funding cut and the university had not set a target for how many people it wanted to lose.
"We are only offering our staff a chance to review their career development," he said.
"For those staff who have served in our university for many years, it may be good timing for them to decide whether their mission is compatible with that of the university."
Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, professor of political science, said the offer of a golden handshake was an acceptable method of streamlining.