Thursday, June 20, 2024

York St John University: Jobs at risk in cost-saving plan – BBC News

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Image source, BBC/Louise Fewster

Image caption, Up to 30 jobs are under threat at York St John University

  • Author, Louise Fewster
  • Role, BBC News
  • Reporting from York

York St John University has become the latest higher education provider in the region to announce a number of planned staff redundancies.

Up to 30 jobs, including 12 academic posts, are at risk at the former teacher training college, which was granted university status in 2006.

The decision comes after the universities of Bradford and Huddersfield both confirmed similar cost-saving measures.

York St John’s management want to shave £4.8m from the institution’s budget – but lecturers say they are “losing sleep” over the proposals.

The university’s plans have also led to concern among students, including an undergraduate who said he feared the level of support available would reduce.

York St John said it was experiencing “financial challenges which are common across the sector” due to a predicted drop in international student enrolments as a result of changes to the visa system.

Affected staff have been sent redundancy letters, with a consultation process taking place.

York St John’s social sciences department said its members felt “targeted”, with up to a quarter of its posts under threat.

Image source, BBC/Louise Fewster

Image caption, Timothy Cave is one of more than 500 students who have signed an open letter against the proposed job cuts

The University and College Union (UCU) claims the cuts are unnecessary, with an open letter signed by nearly 500 students sent to vice chancellor Karen Bryan.

Second-year student Timothy Cave said: “The students are all really worried that what they were sold by the university is not what the university is going to be able to deliver.”

Social sciences lecturer and UCU branch secretary Joel Maddock-James said: “I have had a number of staff approach me over the last week in tears, many suggesting that they can’t eat or they can’t sleep because they have been informed.”

His department colleague Dr Eeva Sointu claimed there was “a sense of us being targeted” despite the courses performing well in league tables.

Prof Bryan said: “I really appreciate that this is a very difficult time, with a lot of uncertainty for those affected.

“We will continue to support people and bring the process to a close as quickly as we can.”

The university confirmed that wellbeing and other support services would not be impacted by the proposals.

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