News emerged today of plans by Queens University in Belfast to make 150 members of academic staff redundant.
Just over a year after Queens University attempted to pursue compulsory redundancies for the first time in its history, plans are afoot to axe 150 academic jobs at the university.
The university is blaming a funding shortfall and 'poor performance' of some staff. However, a local newspaper contacted the Department of Employment and Learning who said funding for this financial year had actually been increased, and were unaware of the plans:
“To date, Queen's University Belfast has not informed, or consulted, us on changes in the number of staff, or the provision of degree subjects, for the coming year”
Many of those expected to be targetted with compulsory redundancies are those who concentrate on teaching rather than research. Queens is currently in the Russell Group, a group of the top 20 research-intensive universities in the UK that is often called the 'Ivy League' of the UK. Russell Group members account for the majority of government funding for universities, despite making up less than one-fifth of UK universities.
The BBC reports that the university is to axe its German degrees (video), putting staff in that department in jeopardy.
Paul Hudson, a spokesperson for the University and Colleges Union (UCU) said the planned cuts will be detrimental to education offered at Queens: “Because all the people who concentrate on teaching are in the group who are being invited to leave, it gives the message that teaching is unimportant."
UCU had warned staff to be vigilant in the past year and their projections look to have been correct given these newly-revealed plans. The plan is expected to be presented to the university senate in 10 days.