Up to 250 University of Wolverhampton roles at risk as part of restructure to solve deficit

As many as 250 roles at the University of Wolverhampton could be axed as part of a restructure to help solve a £20 million deficit, chiefs have said.

The University of Wolverhampton
The University of Wolverhampton

Education leaders in the city said the sum included the almost 100 staff members set to leave through the Mutually Agreed Resignation Scheme (MARS).

Bosses said the move would help "reduce the number of staff it employs" with the need to cut-back by £20m branded necessary for the future of the site.

A letter, believed to have been sent out by interim vice-chancellor Professor Ian Campbell said the efforts to reduce the deficit – including through the freezing of recruitment to vacant roles – were "not enough".

And the university is currently in a period of collective consultation with trade unions – the University and College Union (UCU) and Unison – to discuss the overall proposals and explore alternative options.

The letter added: "Changes that affect people are always the hardest to make, and this proposal hasn’t been made lightly. But, the University’s leadership team firmly believes this approach is the only path forward, if the university is to, once again, thrive and grow."

In a statement the university told the Express & Star that it has "announced a proposal to reduce the number of staff it employs".

"The proposal might affect as many as 250 roles, although this figure includes almost 100 colleagues whom we anticipate leaving through our Mutually Agreed Resignation Scheme (MARS)," the university said.

"These employees will now enter a period of consultation in partnership with the university and the relevant trade unions. The university is committed to treating all staff with dignity and respect throughout this difficult time.

"Since the beginning of the year, the university’s new leadership team has been transparent and open with staff, students and the trade unions around the challenges it currently faces. The Covid-19 pandemic and rising inflation have significantly increased costs, while at the same time, like many similar, modern universities, student enrolments – and associated tuition fee income – have been falling.

"This difficult financial landscape significantly impacts the university’s ability to reduce its current financial deficit of £20m – something that must be addressed to ensure the future financial sustainability of the university."

Dr Catherine Lamond, chair of the UCU negotiating committee at the university, said: "I think members of staff across the university are devastated, not just because hundreds are losing their jobs, but because thousands of students are losing opportunities as well.

"The students will really be impacted by these drastic cuts. It's devastating, really disappointing, for the university and the region."

The revelation comes after it was revealed the university had halted recruitment to 138 courses, across all of its campuses, for the next academic year.

Undergraduate and postgraduate courses from “across the university portfolio” are affected. Some of them are performing arts subjects, based at the Walsall campus. Others include some of the craft areas in the School of Arts, taught in the building near Molineux, and some course areas in the sciences.

Bosses said the Covid pandemic has increased its costs, while enrolments have been falling.

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