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UCU at the University of Wolverhampton denounce the threat of compulsory redundancy

PRESS RELEASE
Date: 16th June 2015
For immediate release

The University and College Union (UCU) at the University of Wolverhampton have condemned outright the University management’s decision to target Professors for redundancy. The Vice-Chancellor (VC) announced to Professors on 19th May that a restructure of the Professoriate had started at the University. The “Professoriate capacity restructure” paper states that, following the REF results, up to 19 Professors in 4 areas (Computing, Engineering, Built Environment, Law) will be made redundant by the end of July 2015, as their units of assessments have been deemed under-performing. This is a brutal attack on academic staff.

UCU met with the VC and the Director of HR and made it clear that to them that there is no genuine redundancy situation, as the tasks the Professors do will not vanish after they are made redundant. The Vice-Chancellor stated, ‘’this is not a cost-saving exercise’’, but gave the reduction in funding for the targeted areas, following the 2014 REF, as the reason for the ‘restructuring’. Senior management at the University have previously made commitments to contribute to the regional development of STEM subjects in the local area and further, and to drive STEM subjects forward as they have been seen to be neglected for too long. UCU express concern that the proposal to reduce the number of senior research staff in Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment is contrary to this strategy. Furthermore, it appears directly at odds with recent announcements that the University is investing £250 million in capital projects including new sites for the Built Environment and expansion of Engineering. These proposed redundancies are thus diametrically opposed to the investment strategy. Investment in buildings whilst disinvesting in senior academic leadership suggests people working at the university are of secondary importance.

When UCU raised concerns about the reputational risk to the institution of losing members of staff who are involved in, for example, research projects, work with local industries, and PhD supervision, the VC said, ‘we will manage the reputational risk’. The union asked senior management to reconsider but they are pushing ahead with targeting individuals with compulsory redundancy over the next few weeks.

Local contact details
Cécile Hatier (UCU City campus) c.hatier@wlv.ac.uk
Catherine Lamond (UCU Walsall campus) c.lamond@wlv.ac.uk

National contacts
Dan Ashley (UCU) 020 7756 2600; mobile: 07789 518 992; email: dashley@ucu.org.uk

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