Aston jobs at risk as part of review, UCU claims

Job losses could be in prospect at Aston University, with the institution saying it has to “look at how we do things” in the light of more higher education cuts.

June 6, 2015
Money cuts

The University and College Union branch at Aston said that 100 jobs are at risk, and criticised the university for undertaking the move as undergraduate numbers go through a “30 per cent increase” compared with 2009.

It warned that lower staff numbers would leave remaining staff struggling to deal with an increased workload.

However, an Aston spokesman said that the university was “currently undergoing a consultation review with members of its staff. The number of staff roles being considered is not definite – but will be less than the 100 being reported.”

The UCU branch said that jobs at risk include administrative positions in Aston Business School, the School of Languages and Social Sciences, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the international office and estates and security.

The union said that Aston had refused its request to open a university-wide voluntary redundancy scheme.

“The announcements come at a time when the university is embarking on a large-scale capital investment of approximately £96 million to redevelop and refurbish its buildings. It is also moving towards the launch of a major new enterprise, Aston Medical School, in 2017,” the UCU branch added.

Members have passed a motion urging the university to commit to ruling out compulsory redundancies and deferring “all non-essential spending in order to save jobs from being lost”.

Aston’s spokesman said: “We have always, in consultation with the unions, reviewed parts of our institution as times change. In the wake of further cuts being made to higher and further education budgets, we feel it is particularly important we take a considered look at how we do things.

“We understand this kind of review process can be difficult but we must look beyond Aston and see that similar changes are happening across the sector.”

He added: “When finished, the consultation will report back with recommendations, which the university will consider. Nothing has been decided upon at this point in time. A range of options are available but nothing definite is outlined. If any redundancies are made, we will look to find redeployment opportunities for as many colleagues as possible.

“People are core to our philosophy and that continues to be so.”

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