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Possible redundancies at Bangor University

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Bangor University has released  that they may be planning cuts to staff. The news comes as a shock to staff as they learned of the news through their union representative, Unison Cymru/Wales. Bangor University has told the unions that redundancies are very likely among staff as they look to make cuts over the next two years to reduce costs. It is not known as yet exactly how many jobs will be at risk as a result of these cuts. The university issued a statement to Unison Cymru/Wales on the 11th May 2017 stating it was “currently in a very difficult financial position” and warned the situation could get worse if these redundancies are not made. Bangor University issued a statement the following afternoon of the initial announcement stating, “For some months Bangor University has been carrying out a wide-ranging review of its activities to ensure that it can respond to the changes that will arise over the coming years.

“The review will create scope for future investment in new and existing academic programmes, as well as improved facilities that will ensure that Bangor continues to provide its students with a high quality education”.

“Over the coming weeks and months we will seek to identify ways in which current resources can be deployed differently to enable Bangor University to respond to the emergence of new opportunities to meet student needs within higher education, while at the same time ensuring that we achieve the highest levels of efficiency across our operations.” The news came just days after Aberystwyth University wrote to their entire staff asking for voluntary redundancies. It is known that up to 150 jobs at Aberystwyth are at risk as the university tries to save £11 million over the next two years.   

Aberystwyth University blame their situation on competition for students, a drop in number of people wanting to go to university and the affect of Brexit. In a statement Aberystwyth University said, “Like other UK universities, we are facing changes and challenges including increasingly intense competition for students, a demographic decrease in the current pool of 18-year-olds, and rising costs.

“Universities also face uncertainties caused by Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, as well as tighter visa regulations for international students.” The university said it wanted to avoid the need for compulsory redundancies stating no departments would need to close under the savings plan. In March, the University of South Wales said up to 139 jobs could be at risk as it tried to balance rising costs with an anticipated reduction in students due to Brexit.

It is not just Welsh Universities that are feeling the pressure to save money by cutting jobs. Manchester University have recently been accused of planning a ‘clear out’ of their senior staff members to make way for less well-paid, junior academic staff. Manchester are planning to axe 171 jobs in schools such as the arts, languages, biology, medicine and business. Once again the university blames the prospects of Brexit as a major factor threatening it’s future income. But the University and College Union (UCU), which represents lecturers and researchers, said Manchester’s finances were in good health and that the university was making excuses in order to implement cuts. Martyn Moss, UCU regional official for the north-west, said early assessments of the plans suggested the university wanted to get rid of more expensive, senior academics. “I think they want to shake it up and have a clear out,” he said. “The whole question of them bringing in a significant number of early years academics at a similar time raises real questions about the genuineness of the redundancies and whether they would be fair dismissals.” The University of Sunderland is also amongst the universities to announce compulsory redundancies for cost-cutting reasons. Over the past few months, about 100 jobs were predicted to go at Heriot-Watt University, the University of Kent announced the closure of its school of music and fine art and Manchester Metropolitan University said it would close its campus in Crewe, threatening 160 posts. The effects of Brexit are beginning to show themselves, as universities across the country feel the squeeze from no EU funding. 

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Emily Rimmer

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