Image: Wikimedia Commons/ Albert Herring

Two hundred academics have signed a letter deploring “callous” plans to cut 47 jobs at the University of Liverpool

200 academics at the University of Liverpool have signed a letter against “callous” job cuts. 

The open letter said that the university’s job cuts were “utterly unacceptable” and would “destroy morale” among academics. 

The compulsory redundancies were announced in January by the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. 

The letter says: “We find the treatment of our colleagues, some of whom have served the University for 15 or more years, callous and utterly unacceptable, especially during a global pandemic when there are few opportunities for alternative employment.

“If this action goes ahead, it will wreak untold harm on the quality of undergraduate teaching, negatively impact our PhD students, undermine our research endeavors, destroy morale and trust, and damage the reputation of our university.” 

This is not being done out of financial necessity. Instead, management are identifying people they perceive as low performers

–Anthony O’Hanlon, University of Liverpool UCU branch president

The University and College Union (UCU) have said that they are “vehemently opposed” to the job cuts, adding that it “represents a huge attack on job security”. 

In response to the letter, executive pro-vice-chancellor Louise Kenny said the redundancies were not about cost cutting, but “increasing academic quality”.  

Louise Kenny also added that the redundancies were “focused on increasing academic quality and the societal impact of the faculty’s research and expertise, which has the potential to significantly improve the health and wellbeing of Liverpool’s residents”.

Anthony O’Hanlon, University of Liverpool UCU branch president, stated that “this is not being done out of financial necessity. Instead, management are identifying people they perceive as low performers”.

The redundancy outrage comes at a time when academics are unsure about their employment, following large declines in the number of overseas students attending university in the UK, questions have been raised over the budgets of universities. 

Patricia Murray, professor of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, said it had “united our faculty in outrage”.

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