Wolverhampton University move could be breach of employment law, says union

The University of Wolverhampton's University and College Union (UCU) has demanded urgent clarity from the university over its plans to suspend recruitment to over 100 courses.

The University of Wolverhampton
The University of Wolverhampton

UCU has written to the Interim Vice-Chancellor of the university, raising concerns over potential staff redundancies and the impact the plan will have on the arts and humanities.

In a letter to Professor Ian Campbell, the union has also warned that the plans may be in contravention of employment laws that require trade unions to be properly consulted where jobs may be at risk.

The majority of the courses under threat are in performing arts, fashion, social sciences, interior design and fine art, and UCU described the plans as part of a worrying move in the sector to weaken the arts and humanities and the social sciences and cut off access to working class students.

UCU added that students recruited onto courses subject to the recruitment freeze now faced an uncertain future about the long-term prospect of their course.

Regional official for UCU, Anne O’Sullivan, said: "We have serious concerns about the decision by the University of Wolverhampton to suspend recruitment to 146 courses, especially when there has been no consultation with staff or students and no information provided on the reasoning behind the decision.

"The plans to hit mainly arts and social science subjects looks like a crude attack on the arts and humanities, which is becoming endemic across the sector.

"Vice-chancellors of post-92 universities should be fighting a government agenda that wants to stifle opportunities for working class students, instead Wolverhampton seems to believe that its students don’t deserve access to the arts and humanities.

"The university must provide us with more information, and staff and students with more certainty by cancelling plans to freeze recruitment or cut courses.

"Jobs could be lost and the University of Wolverhampton urgently needs to rethink these plans before it does everlasting damage to its reputation as an academic institution."

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