Monday, June 17, 2024

Aberystwyth University: Up to 200 jobs could be cut, says MS – BBC News

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Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Aberystwyth University announced voluntary redundancies to try to save money

  • Author, Gwenllian Glyn
  • Role, BBC News

Up to 200 jobs could be at risk as Aberystwyth University tries to save £15m, an MS has said.

On Thursday, the university announced there would be a “significant change ” to the way it operates to save money after it was impacted by inflation and a “collapse in international recruitment markets”.

Elin Jones, Member of the Senedd for Ceredigion, said between 150 and 200 jobs at the university could be under threat.

Cardiff University has also told staff its financial position is “not good” and warned it faced a £35m deficit this year if action was not taken.

The university’s vice-chancellor Prof Jon Timmis discussed the challenges facing the higher education sector throughout the UK in an announcement to staff.

He said the university – which has around 8,000 students and 2,000 staff – needed to make significant savings.

He said this a result of high inflation, domestic student fees that have not increased with inflation and a “collapse” in international recruitment markets.

“Like many other universities in Wales, as part of the plans to make savings, the institution will start a voluntary redundancy scheme which will help to reduce expenditure,” the university said in a statement.

The university added that it was hoping to “avoid compulsory redundancies as far as possible”.

‘Significant’ impact

Ms Jones told BBC Radio Cymru that the wider impact on Aberystwyth could be significant.

“Voluntary redundancies is an important first step, and hopefully we will not have to move to compulsory redundancies which is something completely different.

“The university is extremely important economically to the economic structure of the county.”

Deputy mayor of Aberystwyth, Maldwyn Pryse, said the news created “uncertainty not only in the university but also in the town”.

Last month, Swansea University announced a series of job cuts due to “financial challenges”.

A spokesman said 189 workers had successfully applied for voluntary redundancy since September.

The University of South Wales also announced that it was offering voluntary redundancies in order to make financial savings.

The Welsh government said it recognised “the financial pressure on higher education institutions”, adding that “the Cabinet Secretary for Education engages regularly and constructively with sector leaders on this”.

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Cardiff University said its financial situation is “not good”

Meanwhile, Cardiff University vice-chancellor Wendy Larner has emailed staff to warn there would be an immediate staff recruitment freeze.

Prof Larner said there were sufficient funds to “weather the storm” in the short-term, but it had to look for ways to cut costs.

She said there was “no need for panic”, but “we can’t continue to make less money than we spend”.

“Our financial position is not good. If we don’t take further action, then this year we stand to experience a £35m deficit, and we expect that deficit to be significantly higher next year,” she wrote.

Alongside cuts, she said the university would look at new ways to generate income.

The university said it could not rule out voluntary redundancies.

Cardiff University’s branch of the University and College Union said there were “mixed messages” from the university about the financial position and it would “enter into dispute” if there were compulsory redundancies.

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