Queens University pushing for 150 redundancies

Queens University pushing for 150 redundancies

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.

Posted By

Choccy
Jun 12 2009 14:43

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pablo99
Jun 13 2009 16:28

As an update to this story...

Jimmy Donaghey of Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) at QUB was interviewed on Radio Ulster yesterday. He stated that the projected number of academic job cuts is "up to 333", with the actual figure to be decided next week. According to the interview, as well as the closure of the German department, the Nanotechnology research centre in Electrical Engineering is set to close, along with the Belfast E-Science centre in Computer Science. A projected 10 academic jobs will be cut in the School of Maths and Physics, 4 in Politics and 6 in Geography, with many more spread across the University.

When asked whether he was puzzled by the fact that that QUB management was blaming a funding shortfall as a reason for job cuts, when, in fact, DEL government funding has increased this year, he said "Yes, that is puzzling. But even more puzzling is the fact that, in the 2007-08 accounts, Queen's surplus rose to £12.6m. The projected surplus for this year is £15m and reserves rose from £75m to £78m, so it is clearly not an issue over finance." He also stated that the University was using the current financial crisis as a "smokescreen" to allow them "to get rid of people who don't fit into their vision" of the future.

Choccy
Jun 13 2009 17:04

Yep, it clearly another example of the current crisis being used to implement attacks on jobs, wages, and working conditions that bosses have wanted to implement all-along.

In the last decade Queens has already 'streamlined' and closed many department that aren't money-spinners: geology and classics both closed years back history of science is closing in the next few months, and many others have amalgamated.

Steven.
Jun 13 2009 18:14

Good article, and thanks for the additional information.

I just fixed the tags.