SYDNEY, May 13 (Xinhua) -- University staff across Australia agreed to mass pay cuts on Wednesday, in order to save around 12,000 positions from being lost as COVID-19 hammers the industry.
Under the landmark agreement, a number of staff at deeply affected universities will receive 85 percent of their salary while the vast majority of staff will receive between 90 and 95 percent of their former salary. People on lower wages will not be affected.
National Tertiary Education Union President Alison Barnes said that the decision to cut pay was necessary and only came after first reducing non-staff costs and management salaries.
"Without this agreement, we faced mass sackings which would have seen careers derailed and livelihoods destroyed," she said.
"This framework enshrines the voice and input of staff at both a national and local level. It preserves more than 12,000 jobs, and secures entitlements such as superannuation and leave."
Australia's world class universities, which heavily rely on income from overseas students, have been hit hard by changes brought about by COVID-19 -- however almost none of the institutions qualify for the government's JobKeeper stimulus program.
"It is now incumbent on the Commonwealth Government to come to the table with a crisis funding package that recognises (2.9 billion U.S. dollars) have melted away from Australian universities in the last six weeks," Barnes said.