Fears for 40 jobs as Plymouth University bids to slash costs
UP to 40 jobs could face the axe at Plymouth University as it bids to cut costs in the wake of a national funding shake-up.
The university, one of the city's biggest employers, is aiming to save around £4million this year thanks to a Government squeeze on higher education.
A phased consultation process began earlier this week, with all members of staff receiving letters warning "some of you will be advised that you may be at risk of redundancy".
But the university said it would try to minimise compulsory job cuts, and that it was likely that no more than 40 would be lost.
The GMB and Unison unions are among those in talks with the university as it pushes ahead with what it described as "transformational plans".
Government reforms mean it must shave its annual £200million budget by around two per cent a year over the next three years.
But vice-chancellor Professor Wendy Purcell said: "Plymouth University is stronger now than ever in our history, and with the support of our people we will emerge from this stronger still."
It is understood a 90-day formal consultation period began on Thursday for some staff, with the second phase, for other departments, due to get under way in late April.
The proposals have been ratified by the university's independent board of governors, a spokeswoman said.
She said the university, which employs around 3,000 people, would work with unions to minimise compulsory job cuts through voluntary redundancy and early retirement.
"It is likely that there will be no more than 40 job losses as a result of this formal consultation," the spokeswoman added.
Government reforms mean universities across the country are having to tighten their belts.
Plymouth University has imposed a recruitment freeze since October last year.
Prof Purcell added: "We are acting to ensure resilience – shaping our own future.
"By taking a longer-term view, we are approaching the changes as an opportunity to sustain the university's world-leading reputation as a great place to study, work and do business long into the future.
"Obviously, we can't ignore what's happening in the sector – and we need to react to the changes and make some changes ourselves.
"But we're taking a measured approach to ensure that we continue to grow and develop our reputation as a leading university.
"While change is always unsettling, I have every confidence in our people and wider stakeholders."