LGU shaves off Pounds 5m

April 5, 1996

London Guildhall University governors have accepted the recovery plan aimed at saving the financially threatened institution Pounds 5 million over the next three years.

Following the decision last Monday, the plan will go for formal approval to the Higher Education Funding Council for England while LGU management opens negotiations with trade unions over the proposal for 84 job losses and a wage freeze.

Academic job cuts were placed on the national political agenda this week as lecturers' union Natfhe staged a lobby of Parliament on Tuesday to protest about the cuts in funding affecting further and higher education.

Natfhe said colleges and universities were shedding 2,000 full-time lecturing posts and more were in the pipeline. This came on top of 1,500 full-time teaching posts lost last year.

Lecturers were joined by members of other education unions to urge MPs to reverse the cuts or risk a decline in the quality of education in colleges and universities.

Opposition to the cuts at LGU is likely. Staff unions have argued that the wage freeze would cut across nationally agreed pay scales and are pressing for alternative options - in particular withdrawing from part of the university's Moorgate site as a means of averting the freeze and compulsory redundancies.

Roderick Floud, provost of LGU, said compulsory redundancies could not be ruled out. Alan Lafferty, Natfhe coordinator for the university, said the alternative options - added to the recovery plan during the recent internal consultation process - were a means of preserving LGU's academic capital. The case for compulsory redundancies is likely to be pushed by senior managers. They feel that voluntary schemes adopted as a consequence of LGU's financial difficulties since becoming an independent institution in the late 1980s have already cost it too many high-quality staff.

The recovery plan will be implemented by the provost and a still to be appointed project manager. It will be monitored by a committee including two governors - Mike Goodswen, formerly a director of NatWest Bank, and Judith Mayhew of the City of London Corporation - plus an independent member, Finlay Scott, registrar of the General Medical Council and formerly secretary of HEFCE.

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