LAYOFFS LOOM AT UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH PACIFIC

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School officials say about 30 will be let go

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 2, 2009) - The University of the South Pacific is planning to lay off around 30 staff as the regional institution prepares to open for the new academic year later this month.

According to USP Staff Association president Sunil Kumar, some contracts have not been renewed on the basis of "stipulated criteria within USP staff ordinance" such as retirement and non-performance.

"We have opposed the redundancy plan of USP from the start and have been negotiating with the management to minimize the number of academic and comparable staff to be laid off," Kumar added.

Kumar said that their argument is that the financial crisis at USP may only be a short term problem and laying off staff because of this may not be a good move.

"We have had limited success in this regard but have managed to convince the management to slow down the process substantially," he said.

Kumar said that the Staff Association will keep engaging management in discussions to avoid further job losses.

The USP management is expected to comment on the matter soon.

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