P45s on offer to all in drive to slash staff costs

October 9, 2008

The University of Essex has invited all of its 2,000 or so employees to request early retirement or voluntary redundancy in an effort to save on staff costs.

The cuts will contribute to the university's plan to accumulate a surplus of £5.5 million - 5 per cent of turnover - by 2010-11. The surplus will be used for investment in new student facilities, including the library, and to pay for new tutors in expanding subject areas.

The university spends 62 per cent of its income on staff costs, compared with an average among the smaller, research-intensive 1994 Group universities of 58 per cent.

A university spokesman said: "This is not simply about reducing staff numbers; it is planned to help realign staff expertise more closely with patterns of student demand and new curriculum areas, and provide the finances necessary to invest in new posts."

Applications will be approved only "in cases where a demonstrable financial saving will be made," he said.

University and College Union branch president Steve Sangwine said: "We need to wait and see what happens - it could be that this process will achieve all the savings that are needed."

Essex is planning to increase student numbers by 1,100 and raise £5 million from philanthropy over five years. It wants 85 per cent of academic staff to be research-active (up from 79 per cent) and the proportion of income from research to rise from 24 per cent to 30 per cent.

  • The University of Bournemouth has announced plans to restructure its central professional, administrative and support services in a bid to save £13 million over the next four years. The move is part of a wider review of processes and structures, which aims to make efficiency savings of £26 million over five years.

Deputy vice-chancellor David Willey did not rule out redundancies, but said he hoped to avoid them.

  • University and College Union members at Nottingham Trent University have voted to take strike action after a dispute with managers over changes to the union's recognition agreement. The action will take place on 21 October.

melanie.newman@tsleducation.com.

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