Jobs threat at University of Southampton

14 November 2017

Up to 75 lecturers' jobs are at risk at the University of Southampton across six departments in a restructuring process described by UCU as "rushed and dangerous"

The university says it wants to reduce staff costs, but it has already slashed the proportion of money it spends on staff. A decade ago 60% of the university's income went on staff costs. That figure is now just 53%.

At the same time, senior salaries have ballooned, with the vice-chancellor Sir Christopher Snowden's pay and benefits package now £352,000 and the number of staff earning over £100,000 rising to 137.

UCU says such a badly planned restructure risks causing damage to Southampton's reputation and ability to offer top-class education. Music, for example, was the top-rated music department in the UK at the latest research excellence framework exercise in 2014. The other affected departments are English, Law, Chemistry, Tribology and Social Sciences.

The university did receive the lowest mark in a recent teaching assessment exercise and the union says cutting staff is not the way to improve that score. New research has revealed that students cite their lecturers and the quality of teaching as the number one factor when it comes to judging excellence.

UCU members at the university are meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) to discuss the plans and their response to them. The university intends to confirm the first cohort of staff to leave on 19 December, just ahead of the Christmas break.

UCU regional official Moray McAulay said: 'These plans look rushed and dangerous. You cannot deliver world-leading education by cutting staff. Students cite lecturers as the key factor when it comes to teaching excellence so the university is unlikely to improve its teaching ranking by cutting staff.

'We will be meeting tomorrow to discuss our official response to the university's plans, but nothing has been ruled out at this stage.'

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