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UCU slams Queen's University Belfast over mass staff cull

18 June 2009 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU today warned Queen's University Belfast not to go ahead with controversial plans for swathing job cuts.

The union has learned that up to 333 academic posts could be at risk as part of an Academic Plan which includes closing the German department and some research groups.
 
Queen's has blamed a funding crisis for the planned job losses but the Department of Employment and Learning said that funding for this financial year has been increased, with Queen's receiving 2% extra for learning and teaching, and an additional 7.7% for research.
 
UCU has warned that, if Queen's University Academic Plan is rubber-stamped by its governing body on 23 June, it will have disastrous consequences for students and the local economy. This is because all of the teaching specialists are targeted and there is overwhelming concentration on producing international research at the expense of research of local relevance.

In a message to members at a meeting today (Thursday 18 June), the local officers of the UCU branch said of the academic plan: 'It tells all people with any teaching function that they should put as little effort into it as possible and concentrate on international research. This, together with the cut in support staff, will have an adverse impact on the quality of teaching. This will be of concern to potential students, their parents and politicians.'
 
UCU Branch President Dr Renee Prendergast said: 'Queen's is a Russell Group member, but it also has a duty to the region. UCU is demanding clarification from Queen's management on the implementation of this academic plan and will be seeking political support in its efforts to protect members' jobs and the interests of the local community. It is significant that Northern Ireland's Department of Employment and Learning (which funds Queen's) knew nothing of this Academic Plan when we met them on Friday.'

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