Australian National University staff will vote on whether a 2 per cent pay increase should be deferred as the university seeks savings.
In an email to staff, vice chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said the university needed to reduce spending by $100 million by considering structural changes and cutting the salary bill. He flagged that casuals and staff on fixed term contracts could be let go and that voluntary separations could occur.
Professor Schmidt said the university needed to retain $250 million in cash reserves in order to meet financial obligations and to deal with future challenges.
Deferring the July 2020 pay rise would save $13.5 million for 12 months.
National Tertiary Education Union ANU branch president Matthew King said it was unconscionable for the ANU to maintain cash reserves by withholding pay and cutting jobs.
"We reject an approach from ANU to prop up their cash reserves by withholding pay and cutting jobs.
"ANU staff, particularly fixed-term and casual staff, deserve better from one of Australia's wealthiest universities. We call on ANU senior management to take this unnecessary proposal off the table."
The NTEU will campaign for a no vote for the June 17 ballot.