Having already lost hundreds of jobs to help pay for the move to its new prestige campus at MediaCityUK, the University of Salford is about to lose another 218 staff posts across all departments.
A letter to workers from Salford University staff union UCU states that the job losses in "the current economic environment will exacerbate the risk of unemployment and hardship" adding "The impact upon staff and the local community could be substantial".
When Salford University announced its first round of 150 redundancies two years ago, it led to protests and The Crescent being blocked off in rush hour (see here and here), with one of the `Save Our Staff' campaigners, Dr Gary Duke, subsequently sacked, barred from University premises and currently fighting a libel action (see here).
Now the UCU is threatening war with Salford University bosses. Its letter to staff states "any attempt to impose compulsory redundancy will be resisted. The position of this Branch remains as it has for the last two years that, should the employer move to make any of our members compulsory redundant, then we will ballot for permission to take industrial action up to and including strike action".
Staff are particularly incensed because Salford University is making these cuts to save £7million, while spending over £50million on the move to its new prestige campus at MediaCityUK (see here).
An original memo on the move from Salford University Registrar, Dr Adrian Graves, stated that the University's ambitious plans will require "significant upfront investments…to optimise opportunities arising from Media City (approximately £40million)"…(see here for more details).
The UCU letter concludes: "The Employer will have explained to you as to why they believe their actions are necessary, and why they need to make £7million in savings. From our perspective, the employer, as is their legal duty, must do all that they can to mitigate against redundancy, and avoid job loss."
A staff union meeting on 13th April will decide what form further action will take.
STOP PRESS: 2:30pm 8th April
Salford University has been in touch with the following comment from Keith Watkinson, Executive Director of HR.
"Your reporting of two hundred job cuts is wholly inaccurate. As communicated to the unions and staff, this number relates to the number of roles affected, not the number of jobs that will go. A significant number of new roles are being created through this reorganisation of our professional services and we expect that most of these will be filled by affected staff. In reality, the number of job losses is expected to be significantly lower than the affected figure. We are fully committed to working with the unions and staff to avoid compulsory redundancy where possible."
Salford Star responds:
We don't believe the story is inaccurate. You are still cutting 218 jobs and then, what? Asking staff to apply for different jobs? At different pay and conditions? You have also issued a formal notice of redundancies under `Section 188(4) of the TULRA (92)'.