Huddersfield criticised for cutting jobs during summer holidays

University accused of trying to dodge proper consultation by unveiling latest cuts while staff are away

七月 27, 2023
University of Huddersfield
Source: iStock

Staff facing another round of redundancies at the University of Huddersfield have accused senior management of attempting to circumvent consultation by unveiling the cuts at the start of the summer holidays.

The University and College Union (UCU) said 105 Huddersfield employees have been put at risk of redundancy, with 50 expected to lose their jobs by the end of September.

Many of those impacted are away currently and the union said the university was “cynically” attempting to rush through the restructure.

It would be the fifth round of redundancies in the past four years, UCU said, and the third year in a row that the School of Arts and Humanities has been downsized.

Last year 30 academic and seven technical roles were cut from the school as departments were merged. Earlier this year further jobs were lost from health sciences and politics, sociology, psychology, and social work and social care.

The latest posts at risk consist of 39 in the School of Applied Sciences, 15 in the School of Arts and Humanities and 43 across Huddersfield Business School and the School of Education and Professional Development, according to UCU.

The union said meaningful consultation was “practically impossible” during the summer and called on Huddersfield to pause the proposals until staff return at the start of the academic year.

UCU’s regional support official Max Beckmann said it was “completely unacceptable that staff who should be enjoying their summer break after working incredibly hard all year now have the threat of redundancy hanging over them”.

“Some staff have had to go through redundancy rounds for three successive years, this will take a huge toll on their mental health,” he added.

Despite the recent cuts, Huddersfield’s annual accounts show its staff costs increased as a proportion of total income in 2021-22, hitting £124 million. Total income was £183 million but expenditure rose to £192 million, resulting in a £9.2 million loss for the year.

Vice-chancellor Bob Cryan is paid more than £400,000 annually, a figure Mr Beckmann said was “an obscene amount of money for someone who is presiding over failure”. He claimed the vice-chancellor had absented himself “from the whole sorry process and has delegated the hatchet job to other staff”.

A Huddersfield spokesperson said the university was “currently consulting on proposals to restructure some areas of the university, in order to align our staff and resources to support future growth”.

“Discussions have taken place with those directly affected by these proposals. While it ultimately affects a very small number of posts, it is an anxious time for those involved and we are working hard to minimise the impact on them,” the spokesperson said.

“Reorganising how we administer and deliver courses will not impact our students, who are being kept up to date with plans as the consultation progresses.”



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