Med schools worst hit by job threats

May 19, 2000

Almost 300 redundancies are expected at seven universities,with 200 of them at two London medical schools.

The Association of University Teachers condemned the threat of compulsory redundancy at the medical schools of Imperial College, London, where 120 redundancies are expected, and Queen Mary and Westfield College, where 80 are forecast.

Motions promising a fight to prevent any compulsory redundancies at both institutions were carried at the AUT's annual council meeting last week. They expressed alarm that "the worth of individuals is likely to be assessed on their potential contribution to the research assessment exercise and their ability to secure research grants sufficient to support the cost of their own employment, despite their commitment to excellence of teaching".

The AUT said it understood medical schools were suffering from the failure of research sponsors to provide money for overheads, but it said some problems were of management's making.

A QMW spokeswoman said the medical school was restructuring to eliminate a Pounds 4.4 million deficit in two years, caused by rising staff costs and a drop in income. She said there are no plans for compulsory redundancies and that about 50 academic posts were expected to be lost.

Imperial College was unable to comment.

The AUT's conference also carried plans to resist redundancies at Thames Valley University and noted the establishment of a redundancy committee at the University of Southampton. Forty job losses are expected at the University of Bangor, and seven at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. There are also job threats at Goldsmiths College, London, and Teesside University.

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