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University College Birmingham under fire for plans to sack 73 staff

1 June 2021 | last updated: 3 June 2021

University College Birmingham was criticised for trying to axe 73 senior lecturers whilst trying to hire 42 new staff on cheaper contracts according to plans released to staff. UCU said the university is leaving itself open to legal action.

The cuts would threaten teaching in the schools of business; tourism & creative industries; and health, sport & food. Many of the 73 staff threatened with the chop have been at the university for over 20 years. Changes have also been made to job descriptions so that the 42 new posts would see hired staff being saddled with increased workloads. The proposals also try to change pay and grading with new grades being introduced at both the bottom and top of the academic structure. The university has not negotiated any of these changes with UCU, the recognised trade union.

UCU said it is prepared to take legal action to stop the cuts going through as they flout the law on consultation.

UCU regional official Anne O'Sullivan said: 'It is shocking that University College Birmingham is so committed to slashing student provision it is willing to risk legal action. Proposals to cut 73 senior staff and create 42 new roles with non-negotiated changes to the pay and grading structure are a clear breach of the university's legal obligations. Losing 73 senior lecturers in two schools would be a disaster for students. UCU will fight these proposals. We are calling on the university to meet with us to find a solution that protects jobs and student learning before it is forced to defend itself in court.'