Jobs at Cardiff University are at risk after a £21m deficit
Significant cuts and losses have forced Cardiff University to consider reducing their staff numbers
Jobs at Cardiff University are at risk, after the university has seen a budget deficit of £21m, putting already-downtrodden lecturers in a more vulnerable position than ever before.
As a result, Vice-Chancellor, Colin Riordan who is earning £302,000 a year, wrote to all 7,000 university staff on Friday, informing them that applications for voluntary redundancy will open in the new year. This will be the third voluntary severance scheme in six years. However, it is likely that compulsory redundancies will occur too.
With university fees at an all-time high, this might seem surprising. However, Cardiff University have claimed that they have been put at a disadvantage along with other Welsh universities due to them being unable to increase tuition fees to £9,250 a year like English universities have.
The budget deficit has arisen mainly from the cuts from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, which has gone from £11m in 2017, to just £6m for 2018. The university will inevitably need to make cuts somewhere, as it aims for a £24m surplus in two years. However, it is the lecturers that will be facing the brunt of this.
The university have labelled it "a time of unprecedented disruption and financial constraint."
Following the cuts at present, the University and College Union, Unison and Unite, have released a statement relaying that their "members already face extremely low morale from pension attacks, wage reductions and increasing workloads and responsibility."
It is also suggested that some members feel the university is valuing renovation and innovation over them as the university is currently undergoing a £600m development scheme across their campus, featuring the Centre for Student Life, Innovation Central and Translational Research Facility. Therefore, it is understandable that lecturers feel they have been de-prioritised.
Lecturers have already suffered several budget cuts at Cardiff University, and other universities alike. At the start of the year, lecturers who were part of the University and College Unions followed through with a strike, along with many other British universities, following changes to their pension schemes, making them significantly worse-off. Once again they will be impacted by the university's cuts.
Cardiff University has said: "The severance scheme is one of a number of responsible and prudent measures being undertaken or considered by the university to bring it back to surplus in 2019-20.
"We will be working with the trade unions to ensure that we have their input as proposals are developed, and once full proposals are agreed by council, they will be widely disseminated for meaningful consultation with all those involved."