Latest Salford job cuts enrage UCU

The latest round of job cuts at the University of Salford could see up to 87 professional service staff made redundant, with the institution blaming a fall in student numbers under the new system.

May 1, 2013

Source: Ian Roberts

Maxwell Building, University of Salford

The University and College Union said it was the 12th round of job cuts at Salford in the last 18 months, calling the institution “Britain’s most prolific university for axing staff”.

According to the UCU, the cuts, which would fall heaviest on library staff, were “being carried out under inferior terms and conditions that the university has imposed on staff”. The university confirmed there would be a minimum 45-day consultation period, rather than the more standard 90-day period, for the 171 professional services staff whose jobs could be at risk.

Salford said in a statement: “Sector-wide changes in higher education are the most serious that universities have faced for decades.

“Pressures including increases in tuition fees, visa issues affecting international students and student number control have resulted in a dramatic fall in student demand across the UK, with a substantial impact on Salford.”

The statement added: “No final decisions will be taken until the consultations have been completed and, although unfortunately we cannot rule out the potential for compulsory redundancies at this stage, we will, as always, take every possible step to avoid these.”

On the library, the university said it had announced a £1 million investment in a major upgrade to its central library facilities in the Clifford Whitworth Building.

This would provide on the main campus “a year round, 24/7 facility for all our students,” the university said. But “part of this investment will inevitably involve the redeployment of some library employees, and our proposal could affect 84 members of staff with up to 55 people potentially being made redundant”.

Martyn Moss, University and College Union regional official, said: “The University of Salford has the unenviable tag as Britain’s most prolific university for axing staff.”

Kevan Nelson, head of Unison in the North West, said students could be “put off from applying to the university; standards will be hit as staff numbers fall. Instead of pursuing a steady as she sinks strategy, the university needs to get into talks with unions to find a constructive way forward.”

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Reader's comments (3)

The place has a lousy rating in National Student Surveys, which accounts for the fall off in student numbers. With the dramatic rise in tuition fees, only the good universities will be able to attract large numbers of qualified students. What they have done by spending six figures on a doomed libel case against Dr Gary Paul Duke, merely to preserve the vanity of a few overpaid officials is nothing short of criminal. These officials must go before any other staff are made redundant.
To whom are these managers accountable? What have they in common with the service most academics offer to the sector? They should be ousted and punished for misuse of public funds and for the damage they incur upon their institution.
@Fanis Missirlis -- Yeah, good luck trying to punish these managers. They're in so tight with the local powers that be that they're virtually invincible in this respect. Still, they could be shamed into resigning if they realize their legacy will not include a knighthood.

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