De Montfort University has announced that it may have to eliminate 58 positions in an effort to cut costs. The university said its finances have been hit by both the pandemic, which has led to a drop in student numbers, and the current cost-of-living crisis.
Any reductions will come into effect in October and could affect academic and faculty staff, as well as non-academic staff. A DMU spokesperson added that the university had to “make the most difficult decision [it] could” – review personnel costs – which could lead to layoffs and job cuts.
The spokesperson said: “Over the past year, De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has introduced a robust program of cost reduction measures aimed at improving organizational efficiency and addressing to an overall budget deficit.Although these measures have considerably improved the university’s financial situation, the profound effect of the global pandemic, which has led to a reduction in the number of students, combined with the increase in the cost of living , means that new savings still need to be found.
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“Having already implemented a comprehensive set of measures, including voluntary departures, we must take the most difficult decision possible and review staff costs, which may lead to job reductions and layoffs. In total, the university plans a net reduction of 58 academic and professional services roles, but those proposals will continue to be reviewed.
“DMU is entirely dependent on its dedicated and brilliant staff to make it what it is and as such this is the last decision we wanted to make.”
The spokesperson added that the steps were necessary to ensure that the university would be “financially resilient in the future” and could continue to provide “high quality teaching, learning and research” and community contributions. .
Current cost-cutting measures include voluntary redundancies, freezing senior executive bonuses, reducing overtime pay and spending on casual staff and consultants. The university has also limited non-essential staff training and suspended its academic promotion processes.
He is currently consulting with unions on possible job losses. In a statement, the DMU branch committee of the University and College Union (UCU) said it contested the decision “on principle”.
The committee added: “We are particularly opposed to this most recent decision because the financial rationale for the action is unclear, lacks granular detail and is based on dubious projections. As recently as last year, we were assured that spending cuts were necessary to save jobs, and that this drive set us apart from competing institutions.
“Staff at this institution have worked tirelessly on the submissions of the Research Excellence Framework and the Teaching Excellence Framework (Systems for Assessing the Quality of Research and Teaching in Educational Institutions higher), and supported our students throughout the pandemic: the very people who saved the university from collapse should not pay the price for mismanagement of resources.
“Furthermore, the suggestion that this is a limited exercise, and not the precursor to further staff reductions, should be treated with caution – we must all support those at risk, as this may not be- be only the first phase of a process that ushers in terminal decline.
The consultation period with the unions will run until Friday 17 June.