Job cut fears at University of Cumbria
Last updated at 11:45, Thursday, 10 October 2013
A leading union fears that the University of Cumbria is preparing to slash up to 50 jobs in Carlisle – a claim refuted by the institution.
Unison, the public service union, claims the university wants to cut £1.25m from its wages bill because it plans to centralise a range of student support services in Lancaster, its largest campus.
While the University of Cumbria refutes the fears, it has confirmed it will carry out a review of its existing ‘student journey’ measures and investigate how best to interact with all its students.
The university says the review is so early in its infancy that it is ‘inaccurate and irresponsible’ for others to say that they have been excluded from the process, let alone speculate about job losses.
‘Student journey’ is the term used to describe all interactions between the university and its students from the moment they make contact as potential students through to when they graduate and join the alumni association.
Dave Armstrong, Unison regional organiser, said: “If these plans are implemented, it will have a devastating effect on the staff in Carlisle. The university is a major employer across its various sites and has a responsibility to all its local communities to provide good quality employment.
“The University of Cumbria appears intent on reneging on its responsibilities to the people of Carlisle.”
He added that Unison would oppose any proposals to cut staff.
A statement from the University of Cumbria reads:
“The business model currently used has been in place since the university was launched in 2007 and it is recognised that it has many challenges given the geographical nature of the institution as well as the types of programmes the university delivers.”
Many of the university’s students are training to follow careers in teaching, health and nursing and often are based in places of work rather than on campus.
The university says: “Many students are on professional programmes so they spend a lot of their time off campus - the university therefore needs to ensure that it interacts with all its students in the most efficient way possible both in terms of administration and student support.
“This interaction includes all aspects of contact either electronically, virtually or face to face and these processes will be examined for effectiveness and efficiency. Where efficiency savings can be made then this will give the university the opportunity to reinvest in ways that will also enhance the student experience.”
It adds: “This is therefore a review of the process of service delivery and it is disappointing that Unison has made uninformed assumptions about any outcome to the extent of speculating on job losses.
“There is a huge amount of work still to be done even before consideration is given to any proposed future model, let alone its implementation.”
The university also says it always consults with staff and unions on any proposed changes.
“This project will be no different,” the university states. “The project is in its very early stages and a schedule of consultative meetings has yet to be drawn up, therefore it is inaccurate and irresponsible to state that anyone has been excluded from the process, or to speculate on job losses at any particular campus.”
First published at 11:40, Thursday, 10 October 2013
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
Unusual for a union at this University to go to the press, lets hope that managers now talk to their staff about their plans and not hide anything.
i appreciate staff concerns but the students of those classes will also suffer, I am personally aware of one entire course that has been cancelled due to funding.
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