Sad result of flexibility

May 1, 1998

THE deletion of 78 posts at the University of East London (THES, April 3) sees Labour's "flexible" employment policy enacted. It sadly reflects the sometimes iniquitous double-talk prevalent among politicians.

During the recent recession higher education was an alternative to unemployment and funding was made available. Now recruitment has dropped and so the Higher Education Funding Council moves swiftly to reduce our aggregate student numbers by 200 and thus the grant received.

Therefore the university management deletes 78 livelihoods; what else can it do? For some of the individuals concerned, this is without the cushion of the Teachers Superannuation Scheme or lump sums for many years of service; save for three months' severance pay. Part of a government's task used to be to protect those who are vulnerable to such ruthless disposability. Instead, government is an active participant in their demise, at both ends of the age spectrum.

Andrew Chanerley

University of East London

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