Job cuts 'threaten future of business school'

April 26, 2002

The University of Central England has started a wave of redundancies that union leaders have warned could threaten the future of its business school.

Three compulsory job losses in the school's division of management may be added to 29 voluntary redundancies already made in the past seven months.

It is expected that UCE will use its controversial points score system to decide which academics lose their jobs. The system takes into account salary, post, qualifications, fund-raising and nature of contract.

The university said the redundancies were needed to make up for a shortfall of £578,000 in the school's budget - the result of losing a training contract with HSBC bank and missing student recruitment targets last year.

Competition for business-studies recruits across the country has also been blamed for the school's problems. Last year it found itself ranked in the bottom quarter of league tables for more than 100 business schools.

A UCE spokeswoman said that the redundancies would not disrupt courses for the 4,000 students in the school.

But Steve McCabe, UCE branch secretary for lecturers' union Natfhe, said 33 redundancies in a school with just 200 staff were bound to have an impact on future provision. He said: "When you lose that many staff it has to throw a question mark over the long-term future."

Mr McCabe said there were worries other schools at the university might also suffer job losses and that the union was likely to consider industrial action to fight the compulsory redundancies.

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