200 posts set to go as NI looks to save £28m

Queen's University Belfast plans to shed about 200 jobs as part of a £28 million "efficiency saving" in Northern Ireland's higher education sector.

August 11, 2011

The university said that the losses would come from "academic and academic support" roles, and has offered voluntary severance and voluntary early redundancy to staff in a bid to make the cuts without forced redundancies.

Its statement says: "At Queen's, cost savings will be made across all areas of the university, but our priority is to protect the quality of the student experience and to maintain as wide a portfolio of education programmes as possible."

Northern Ireland's two universities, Queen's University Belfast and the University of Ulster, have accepted the need to save £28 million but are fighting an additional £40 million budget cut.

The first and deputy first ministers of the devolved administration are currently grappling with the challenge of plugging the budget hole without raising tuition fees - which they have pledged not to do for local students.

Queen's has previously warned that if the £40 million cut goes ahead, it will have to close courses and schools. Ulster said it would cut £6 million from staff costs in the period to 2014-15, including £1.5 million this year.

In a separate development, the University and College Union has warned of redundancies at Cardiff University's chemistry department.

All of the school’s 107 posts have been included in a consultation on the restructuring, however, the university says in a statement that this is to allow management to identify opportunities for natural wastage and voluntary redundancy.

The UCU said union members in the department felt “shock and bewilderment” at the decision.

A Cardiff spokesman said: “Clearly, the overwhelming majority of the 107 posts will be retained and only a small fraction will be affected.

“During the consultation period, the school is discussing its proposals with employees through a staff forum, where any alternative provisions will be considered.

“The university is seeking to avoid or minimise compulsory redundancies…The aim of the review is to maintain academic excellence in all current areas of research and teaching.”

david.matthews@tsleducation.com.

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