University of East London warns of job losses
- Credit: Archant
The University of East London could cut more than 100 jobs as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Staff at risk of losing their jobs received letters from UEL earlier this month. It came as the university forecast a fall in revenue for 2020-21 of about £31million.
It needs to save £21m to remain solvent and expects job losses to be “inevitable”, according to a document dated July 9 seen by the Recorder.
A total of about 200 UEL workers are being consulted. Most schools and services would be affected with redundancies to be announced from September 1.
UEL would prefer staff to take voluntary redundancy, but has not ruled out compulsory lay offs.
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The University and Colleges Union (UCU), Unison and Unite sent a letter signed by 85 staff to Anulika Ajufo, who chairs UEL’s governing body, on Monday, July 27, asking for a meeting to discuss concerns.
These include fears over the impact on UEL’s reputation, its academic capacity and teaching. They also suggest the university may not be able to take on possible growing student numbers with fewer staff.
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The letter’s signatories also question why pay cuts for the institution’s leaders are not looked at in the plans, a condition of government bail outs.
UEL staff were not furloughed because only “a very small number” were eligible.
Staff have written to MPs from east London where many UEL students come from.
A UCU representative said: “Staff devote everything to their students and we want to see UEL thrive. Now, more than ever, it is crucial for people across east London to have access to the kind of university education they want and value.
“The community must be involved in any future plans for UEL.”
Professor Amanda J. Broderick, vice-chancellor and president, said that since 2018 UEL has taken successful steps to stabilise its finances, resulting in a surplus in 2018-19, the first since 2015.
As recently as February, UEL was forecasting a surplus of £5m for 2019-20.
Prof Broderick explained: “This, together with our increasing reputation as a careers-first university – resulting in some of the strongest student recruitment and retention results in recent institutional history – meant we met the Covid-19 lockdown in a robust position.
“However, the global health crisis poses both serious challenges in addition to potential opportunities for higher education across the UK.
“It is prudent we take immediate action to ensure the university is in a strong and sustainable position to educate future generations in the years to come – this, unfortunately, means consideration of potential redundancies in some areas amongst a range of other measures to increase both efficiency and effectiveness.
“We do not take any potential impact on jobs lightly, particularly in the current economic circumstances, and are committed to undertaking this process in a supportive, fair, consistent and sympathetic manner as is possible,” she added.