“The P&O of Universities” – University of Wolverhampton under threat of jobs

The University of Wolverhampton

Education bosses announced on Wednesday that up to 250 jobs could be cut as part of a move to tackle a £20m deficit and secure the site’s future.

The sum includes nearly 100 staff who are expected to leave under the Mutually Agreed Resignation Scheme (MARS).

This has led to the university being referred to as the “P&O of universities” in reference to P&O Ferries, which laid off 800 staff in March via video link without notice.

But university leaders said the reason a virtual briefing took place was due to the “large and dispersed” nature of staff and talks were now underway with two unions.

Dr Catherine Lamond, chair of the UCU bargaining committee at the university, said: “People are very upset and angry at the way this has gone. Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Campbell, has called all staff for a (virtual) meeting on Wednesday.

“He read from a prepared script, it was 30 minutes in total and people didn’t get a chance to ask questions. People said it was like the ‘P&O of universities’ where you get kicked out by a video link.

“It was disrespectful to them, it’s like they weren’t allowed to argue or ask about it. We’ll start getting more information shortly, but we know it’s going to be horrible.

“We think it’s going to end up being a competition where people have to play against their colleagues, which is awful.”

Dr Lamond said she was “really worried” about the impact on students too, saying she knew of at least one prospective student choosing to study elsewhere due to “negative news” surrounding the university.

A spokeswoman for the University of Wolverhampton said: “On July 6, our Vice-Chancellor announced proposals to reduce the number of staff at the university, which could impact up to 250 academic positions, including almost 100 colleagues whom we plan to leave via our Mutually Agreed Resignation Plan (MARS) Due to the size and dispersed nature of our staff, the announcement was made during a virtual briefing for all colleagues.

“Colleagues who are potentially affected by these proposals have now been informed and have subsequently attended a further meeting to discuss how the local proposals may affect them. We have entered a period of consultation with our unions, UCU and Unison, to discuss our proposals and explore alternative options. We are committed to meaningful consultation with our unions and to treating our staff with dignity and respect throughout this process.

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