Recovery plan cuts out South Bank staff

July 20, 2001

South Bank University has announced a raft of compulsory redundancies as part of a recovery plan that it is implementing on the orders of the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Up to 17 staff will be told they must leave this summer - ten from the faculty of the built environment, four from health and three from languages.

Fourteen other university staff have been identified for redundancy next summer. Three of them will be from languages and 11 from the built environment.

Deputy vice-chancellor Trevor Watkins said these were maximum numbers because some staff might decide to go on a voluntary basis, depending on their pension arrangements.

Voluntary redundancies are also being sought at South Bank. The eventual aim is to cut the faculty of the built environment from 84 full-time equivalent staff to 54 over two years while languages staff are reduced in number from 16 to nine.

Another area, applied science, also faces redundancies, but these will all be on a voluntary basis.

South Bank hopes to boost recruitment to the faculty of the built environment by moving it from its remote Wandsworth site to the main Elephant and Castle campus. Work is about to start on a £20 million building to house it, and it is expected to move in two years.

But lecturers' union Natfhe has called for a London-wide inquiry into provision of subjects in the field, such as surveying and architecture.

As well as the changes at South Bank, cuts have been made to surveying courses at the University of East London.

Jenny Golden, Natfhe's London regional officer, said: "It is time that we had some kind of committee of inquiry into provision in this subject area in London, otherwise it is going to be wiped out."

Ms Golden called for an investigation similar to the one being carried out into language provision by Geoffrey Copland, vice-chancellor of the University of Westminster.

"Hefce should be looking at the ongoing maintenance of subject provision," Ms Golden added.

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