Job losses feared as Glasgow forecasts £3m deficit

June 8, 2001

The threat of job cuts has re-emerged at Glasgow University less than three years after it shed hundreds of posts to combat an impending deficit. An internal audit predicts a £3 million shortfall by summer, and the university has not ruled out more job cuts unless increases in higher education funding are sustained.

Bill Stewart, president of Glasgow's Association of University Teachers, said: "We knew there was some financial problem at Glasgow but the scale of it was not apparent to us. We are very disappointed that (management) has not said there is no threat to jobs."

Dr Stewart said Glasgow had only recently gone through an extensive early retirement and voluntary severance scheme, shedding some 300 staff across all grades. Glasgow at that point feared a £6 million deficit.

Dugald Mackie, the university secretary, said Glasgow had received only a small cash increase from the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council in 1999-2000 at a time when staff costs were rising. Glasgow has won a 5.7 per cent increase for the coming year, but Mr Mackie warned that this would offer only a temporary respite unless funding increases were maintained.

Dr Stewart said that the AUT branch accepted the point that the university had "taken a hammering" because of stock exchange volatility, while utility charges had continued to increase.

Dr Stewart warned that Glasgow was unlikely to be an isolated case. He said: "The chickens are coming home to roost in terms of underfunding over the past two decades. Increased funding will have to be maintained or every university in the country will be announcing a deficit."

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