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London Universities Shed Hundreds of Jobs

Feb 04 2010 15:11
Kent Brockman
Following the latest damaging budget cuts, Kings College and Queen Mary University are amongst institutions that have announced huge staffing cuts.
Shameless re-use of old article images: King's College London will see heavy staff cuts.

Universities are feeling the pinch this week with many institutions, including London's King's College and Queen Mary University, announcing large job cuts across multiple departments.

Of all the institutions involved in this crisis, King's has adopted the most draconian measures so far in terms of redundancies.
Jim Wolfreys, University and College Union

The Times Higher Education Supplement today reports that 205 jobs in 13 departments are at risk at King's, and goes on to say that all members of staff in the college's Humanities Department have been put on notice of redundancy. Meanwhile, London Student reports that a number of senior academics are to be made redundant.

The news follows huge job cuts in Imperial College's humanities department earlier in the year, which led to a student and staff protest outside the Faculty Building, and Imperial's proposal to cut 20% of academics in the Faculty of Medicine.

Thirty of King's College's job cuts will be in The School of Physical Sciences and Engineering, which is currently under threat of closure as King's intends to merge multiple faculties into a "School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics". Another thirty are in the Institute of Psychiatry. The reasons for the cuts are cited as poor Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) results and this week's university funding cuts.

The best candidates in the humanities will shun the institution; and those of strong standing now in post will all seek to leave.
A letter from academics at UCL

A letter warning of the damage that the Humanities cuts could cause King's College has been sent by 26 academics at UCL, who say that the cuts "will succeed in the aim of making a once great institution manifestly mediocre". Meanwhile, a group of King's College London graduate students have also sent a letter to the college and a further letter damning the cuts has been signed by 309 academics worldwide.

Simon Gaskell, Principal of Queen Mary University, has suggested that there will be voluntary severance and early retirement offered to some members of staff in a letter sent on January 29th.

The University and College Union (UCU) says that there will be between 60 and 100 job losses, and believes that the letter sent by Queen Mary University implies that there will be forced redundancies. The UCU has also complained that by not consulting them of the proposed changes to staffing, Queen Mary has breached employment regulations.

Queen Mary University of London will face up to 100 job cuts.

Elsewhere in the country, 64% of staff voting in a UCU ballot to decide whether or not industrial action would be taken over a potential 700 job losses at Leeds University have voted in favour of a strike.

UCU General Secretary, Sally Hunt, said: "The bottom line is that serious job losses will impact massively on the institution's ability to function as a leading university in the region, let alone globally. The university should be working with us to oppose the government's savage cuts to higher education and must immediately put plans to axe 700 jobs on hold".

A total of 54 members of staff at Leeds University have already lost their jobs in a mammoth plan of spending cuts at the institution, which is looking to lower operating costs by £35million.

Meanwhile, at Bangor University over 100 jobs are at risk as a result of the announced university funding cuts. The proposed cuts are in linguistics, modern languages, religious studies and social sciences.

Arfon Liberal Democrat candidate, Sarah Green, said that the cuts "would have serious effects on the local economy and the consequences of job losses would be felt by everyone", as Bangor university is one of the top employers in the area.

The institutions that fare best in the coming few years will be those that remain determinedly strategic and that specifically retain the capability to continue investing in those areas characterised on a rational basis as of highest strategic importance.
Simon Gaskell, Queen Mary University

Aston University in Birmingham also lost two senior members of staff last week: their Chief Operating Officer, Richard Middleton, and Head of Estates, Garry East.

Things aren't looking too good North of the border, with Edinburgh's Queen Margaret set to dismiss upto 20% off its 500-strong employee base and a loss of 40 members of staff in teacher training across the nation.

The devastating and far-reaching effects of the £449million university spending cuts are bringing calls for a reversal in the government's decision. However it looks as though in preparation for the cuts, the damage has already been done.

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Discussion about “London Universities Shed Hundreds of Jobs”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Feb 04 2010 17:24

hm. wouldn't it make more sense to just get rid of administratorial staff instead of academic? It's real life, not yes, minister, right?

2. Well   
Feb 04 2010 17:31

I think it's easier to make a song and dance about needing more funding if you're cutting vital roles.

Feb 13 2010 15:20

I totally agree about getting rid of some admin jobs instead of the academics. Many departments have way too many admin staff and it's difficult to justify why they should be earning a salary of a similar level to a postdoc or lecturer (and in the case of tech support often more). Surely an awful lot of admin work can be farmed back to academics? Not long ago, an average department would have 2/3 admin staff and not a whole host of people for marketing, distance learning, postgrad applications, research degrees etc.

4. D.   
Feb 13 2010 21:57

"Surely an awful lot of admin work can be farmed back to academics?"

That is sure way to drive the best academics away...

Apr 05 2010 03:11

Ha! Garry East left beacuse they were nudged out! Garry East's role was chopped up and the majority was given to Alan Charters in 2009. I'm sure Garry East was very happy about that. East's management was questionable and Middleton's role (brought in by Julia King's administration to add a new reprting line between her self and the non-accademic departments) was a pointless waste of fee-payers and tax payers money. The bungling, micro managing of the structure was intollerable for many.

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