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Vow to fight plans to cull 1 in 10 academic jobs at Staffordshire University

24 November 2023

UCU vowed to fight devastating cuts at Staffordshire University.

In a consultation document shared with UCU, the university has put over 100 jobs at risk of redundancy, with staff set to go as soon as next month. The cuts include up to 65 academic job losses, which equates to over one in 10 academic staff, and swingeing cuts to professional services staff.

The proposed cuts to academic staff include up to 31 jobs in the school of justice, security and sustainability; eleven in the school of health, science and wellbeing; eight in the school of digital technologies and the arts; and six in the institute of education.   

The university's management claims it needs to make the cuts because of a supposed reduction in income, high inflation, and the burden of what it describes as a "cost-of-living" 5% pay award made to staff for 2023/24. Staffordshire brings in over £150m per year but less than half of that goes on staff. It has cash reserves of £73m and made a £13m surplus last year. The university recently spent £3.5m expanding its London campus and just last month announced a £2.9m Esports investment plan. Three of the staff it wants to sack are Esports academics. 

UCU members at the university will hold an emergency branch meeting in the coming days to decide how to fight back against the cuts.  

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'We will not stand by while Staffordshire University tries to make sweeping cuts that would damage student learning. There is no clear rationale for sacking one in ten academic staff and the university's claims do not stack up. It is running a surplus and has huge cash reserves. It is frankly scandalous that management is calling its 5% pay award a "cost-of-living" payment and using it to try to justify the cuts. It is a real-terms pay cut and the staff who face losing their jobs are in much more danger of being hit by the soaring cost of living than a university with tens of millions of pounds in the bank. 

'Less than half of the university's income is currently spent on staffing, but it is investing huge sums in a campus in London, more than a hundred miles from Staffordshire, and is pumping millions into its Esports department while trying to sack the very staff who will teach the courses. 

'The cuts would also see workloads go through the roof, with staff who remain tasked with delivering the work of those who go, this includes professional support staff who carry out vital work in admissions, exams and finance.  We urge management to change course immediately and our branch will be meeting as a matter of urgency. Nothing is off the table in how we fight these brutal cuts.' 

Last updated: 24 November 2023