FRESH claims have been levelled against the University of New England as the fallout continues from the Printery’s proposed sale.
A UNE source believes management was forced to change its position on the matter after dozens of staff and students formed a protest.
“They’ve gone from all the Printery staff being made redundant in three to six months to saying no decision has been made,” he told The Express.
“It [the protests] has sharpened them up a bit.
“Now they realise they must show consideration, which they didn’t do before.”
But UNE’s Chief Operating Officer Peter Enlund previously said management had alerted staff of their intentions and conducted a “normal business process”.
“When we contemplate change, we have to consult staff,” he said.
“We have to go through a stage-by-stage process, so no decisions have been made.”
Yesterday UNE released a written statement which backed Mr Enlund’s claims that management would remain committed to consulting with staff.
“UNE is committed to keeping the staff of UNE Print informed throughout this process and are also committed to the workplace change process outlined in the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement,” it said.
Despite management’s declaration, the source also alleged UNE had earmarked the Printery for potential sale early last year but needed to delay its plans.
The source claimed that UNE postponed Expressions of Interest for the Printery in January 2011 due to the unrelated Independent Commission Against Corruption’s (ICAC) investigation into Campus Services.
“They wanted this to happen then but they held it back for a year because of the ICAC investigation,” the source said. “So they’ve had it planned the whole time.”
A letter to The Express supported the allegations, claiming UNE also lied about the Printery’s financial position. “The decision about closing the Printery was made last year,” it said.
“The story that has been told is false as the Printery is making a profit but they just want to outsource every thing from Armidale.”
However, UNE denied the allegations through the statement, saying management had only started to consider the Printery’s possible sale last October after deciding it was no longer financially viable.