Hundreds of redundancies have been announced at University of Liverpool. The vice-chancellor of UoL, Janet Beer, is the head of Universities UK: the body trying to carry out colossal cuts to academics’ pensions.
The University and Colleges Union, UCU, at UoL has mounted a tremendous struggle as part of the national dispute in defence of pensions, and many will suspect there may be ulterior motives in the announcement now of massive job losses.
In what the Liverpool Echo described as a “jargon-heavy statement” the University talks about a “reshaping our academic staffing profile” to enable “being recognised as a top 100 university globally”. In the mouths of uni bosses this is usually code for aping some of the world’s most pro-corporate elite universities, which not coincidentally charge some of the highest tuition fees!
Jo McNeill, President of UCU at UoL, told us:
“We are shocked and surprised at our employer’s actions. We have always had good industrial relations at Liverpool so announcing a decision like this without any formal consultation demonstrates extremely unusual behaviour.
“We are very concerned about the impact the loss of over 220 of our academic staff will have on our students and we are extremely unhappy with the management’s declaration that they will move to compulsory redundancies if the numbers they cite do not leave voluntarily.
“Our branch will not stand for such a vicious attack and it has not gone unnoticed that this announcement was made days after we returned to work from the most sustained period of strike action to ever take place in the UKs Higher Education system. We suggest our employer re-thinks this proposal.”
Students at UoL value their lecturers and the amount of time which staff spend on supporting and educating them. Students will react with dismay to the redundancies, and will doubt that the “teaching and research priorities” the Uni thinks 200 staff salaries should be redirected towards will coincide with the priorities of students. Certainly the recent financial priorities of senior management are open to question, when the Echo recently reported:
“Liverpool University fat cats could have saved £113,000 if they’d instead travelled standard class on planes and trains - in a period of just under three years… [such as] a senior management member spending £10,427.63 for attendance at a conference in Harvard in June 2017. This included chauffeur-driven transfers to and from the airport. Another senior management team member splashed out more than £2,000 on three nights in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Singapore.
“The deputy vice chancellor, Patrick Hackett, spent £765.59 on one night at the 4 Seasons Hotel, Sydney, in October 2017, the dossier revealed. And another member of the senior management team spent £1,352.85 on a hotel and laundry bill for three nights in Hong Kong in September 2017.”
Liverpool Socialist Students and Socialist Party gives total support to the UCU branch at UoL in whatever actions they may take to resist the job losses. We will seek to build support as widely as possible among students and in the city more widely.
Send messages of solidarity to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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