THE University of the South Pacific yesterday refuted claims that it paid out bonuses to one of its departments despite an Employment Tribunal order stopping the payments.
The allegations were levelled at the university by the USP Staff Union (USPSU).
The staff union and USP have been locked in a case before the tribunal for the past three years — during which time the tribunal has stopped the practice of paying bonuses to staff.
However, the union alleged USP was still making bonus payments in defiance of the tribunal order.
In a statement sent yesterday — USP denied the claims — stating while they had made payments to staff of the book centre, these were separate from the bonus payouts stopped by the tribunal.
The university clarified a structural reform had taken place — placing the book centre in a new "commercial" section — requiring it to operate as a business.
"A reward system was also put forward to reflect the business environment and this was over and above the normal university staff performance review processes," the USP statement said.
The rewards totaling $15,444 were paid to 19 of the book centre staff — of which 17 were I&J and two were hourly paid (PHP).
"The payment of reward to the staff represents payment that was over and above any increments they would have received from the staff performance review process.
"It does not affect base salary and is not an allowance or other HR initiated payment."
USP also denied staff union allegations that it offered to pay one-off staff bonuses in return for the tribunal cases to be dropped.
The university said staff morale was low as bonuses were not paid because of the tribunal order — a fact it had tried to remedy by offering a one-off bonus payment.
"On this basis the university made an offer to USPSU, without prejudice to the outcome of the tribunal, to hold Staff Performance Review meetings for 2012 only so that staff could be granted performance awards. This offer was declined by USPSU."