Rector says the University of Athens will be unable to function under government plans to remove hundreds of its 1,300 administrative staff.
The rector of the country’s largest university has said that the institution has no choice but to strike against the government’s plans to remove hundreds of its administrative staff.
Theodoros Pelegrinis, the head of the University of Athens, said the government’s so-called mobility scheme would leave the university unable to function.
He was speaking after the university senate on Monday evening voted to keep the college closed until next Monday. This means that the registration of incoming students, which was supposed to begin on September 11, will be postponed. Freshmen have until September 27 to enroll.
Unions say that of the 6,239 administrative staff at third-level insititutions across the country, the government is seeking to place 1,765, or 25%, in its mobility scheme, which will end in dismissal if another job for them cannot be found in the public sector.
In an interview on Skai TV, Pelegrinis said the university was facing its worst crisis in a decade.
Although its state’s subsidy had been halved since 2009, the university was able to function, Pelegrinis said. But the decision to move staff out as part of the mobility scheme has led to an “impasse”, meaning it can no longer function.
“Considering the operating needs of the university, the number of 1,300 staff is not excessive,” the rector said, pointing to possible implications for the health sector given that the university supports 66 clinics in public hospitals.
Reports suggest that Pelegrinis’ university could lose up to 500 staff members under the mobility scheme.
Countering allegations that the universities are sabotaging efforts to create more efficient third-level institutions, Pelegrinis noted that the University of Athens has already carried out an assessment of its staff.
According to university’s general director of administration, Panagiotis Fotopoulos, while the the US has 9.5 administrators per 100 students and the UK 7.9, at the University of Athens the ratio is just 2 per 100.
In addition, the US and UK have 8.7 and 7.3 teaching staff per 100 students while Athens has 3.1 per 100.
On Monday, university administrators in a number of colleges in the north of the country voted to start 48-hour strikes, starting on Tuesday.
The strike affects the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki and the Thessaloniki Technical College (TEI).
Colleges cannot afford to lose staff. At the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, for example, there are 750 administrators for 2,200 faculty members and 70,000 students.