Bangor University accused of rushing into redundancy plans as 200 jobs put at risk
Staff at Bangor University were yesterday informed that 200 people are to be made redundant.
Trade unions say the scale of cuts will damage Bangor’s level of student support and welfare and academic reputation.
120 support staff jobs will go, affecting workers in I.T., examinations, academic registry, libraries, estates, accommodation and student support, along with 80 academic jobs.
UNISON, UCU and UNITE have criticised what is a third round of job cuts in the last three years.
They claim Bangor University executives are not interested in long-term planning or in evaluating where savings might be made without harmful cuts to staff numbers.
The trade unions argue there is a duty on Bangor University to protect jobs because it is one of the three main employers in Gwynedd and they will be raising the matter with the Welsh Government.
Christine Lewis, UNISON Bangor branch secretary, said: “Bangor University is rushing into redundancies without waiting until we know how many domestic and overseas students are going to be here next year.
“University executives have been shedding staff for three years and they still haven’t achieved financial stability.
“Why isn’t Bangor saying ‘let’s put people before buildings’ and see if sensible saving can be made elsewhere first before axing dedicated staff.”
Daryl Williams, UNITE regional officer, said: “Bangor University are sacking staff based on pessimistic projections. Rather than panic and make skilled people redundant, it would be better for the university to sit down with their employees and unions to plan for the future and decide what type of institution they want to be.
“Another round of cuts will hit staff morale at a time when people are working flat out to cope with Covid.”
Dyfrig Jones, Bangor University UCU president, said: “Universities are organisations which are largely reliant on intellectual capital to deliver services.
“Making staff redundant during a pandemic when the university needs to draw on the intellectual capital of staff to deliver blended learning and support students seems very short-sighted.”
Hywel Williams, MP for Arfon, has also criticised the move and called for an urgent meeting with the university.
He said: “This is potentially a severe blow to the area and devastating news for those who now face losing their jobs.
“My immediate thoughts of course are with those who will be affected by this announcement.
“These are very tough times for everyone, and universities have been hit by Covid-19 in many ways.
“I understand that final decisions have not yet been made and staff and the unions are being consulted on alternatives.
“As this is the third round of cuts in many areas, it seems unlikely that the cuts can be made by voluntary redundancies and retirements.
“This is yet another round of forced cuts. So, the chance of enough staff choosing to leave is lower. Whichever way, safeguarding both the rights of staff and Bangor’s excellent reputation must be priorities.
“I join with Sian Gwenllian MS in seeking an urgent meeting with university bosses to discuss this further.”
A spokesperson from Bangor University said: “An anticipated shortfall in income, mainly related to international student recruitment, requires Bangor University to find £13m savings.
“Last month the university started a period of consultation about how these savings might be achieved and has now shared proposals for a restructure with staff, as part of this consultation.
“With our nationally recognised gold rating for teaching excellence students are at the heart of the university.
“Our priority in any changes will be to ensure that their experience is not only protected but enhanced.
“Whilst this is a period of significant challenge it also provides an opportunity to innovate and emerge from Covid-19 stronger and as a leading force in higher education and the economy of North Wales and beyond.”
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