King’s plans ‘to cut 120 jobs in Health Schools’ as UCU call proposals ‘catastrophically out of touch’

UP to 120 academic jobs are expected to be cut in King’s Health Schools as part of plans described as “sheer brutality”.

From May 8 staff will be ranked on performance criteria including teaching contribution and research grant income to decide who will go.

Those expected to be made redundant include lecturers and professors rather than teaching assistant, clinicians, research assistants or those in leadership roles.

The plans were announced on the same day league tables placed King’s as the second worst university in the country for Medicine, revealing a huge fall in overall student satisfaction.

Jim Wolfreys, president of KCL University and College Union (UCU), said: “In terms of sheer brutality the proposals are devastating. The perpetrators of these plans have shown themselves to be catastrophically out of touch.

“All those who value the role played by King’s as a higher education institution need to come together to overturn this strategy of calculated destruction that will do nothing but harm to the students, staff and reputation of the College.”

A legally-required consultation period of 45 days has begun between the College and trade unions and staff, which will last until July 7.

A spokesperson from King’s told Roar!: “We have ambitious plans to enhance our position as a world leading university and we are developing a robust strategy for investment to make this a reality.

“In the proposal to restructure the School of Biomedical Sciences, Medicine and IoP, we are seeking to reduce our academic payroll costs by 10% and some job losses may be necessary.

“The precise number of jobs affected will not be known until later in the consultation process but we estimate that it will be no more than 120 jobs,” they added.

A slide from the presentation King's gave to staff on the restructure

The spokesperson also pointed out that since the Government cut their funding, they now have to fund their own capital projects.

Formal letters of dismissal will be sent to staff on August 8.

Sebastiaan Debrouwere, president of the students’ union KCLSU, said: “The Student Officer Team are worried about the devastating impact a 15% cut in staff from these Schools will have on teaching quality, class sizes, academic support and pastoral care.

“Additionally, we are disappointed that the College has chosen to announce this decision during a very busy and stressful period for students.”

Next week students in the Schools of Biomedicine, Medicine and IoP will receive emails and UCU members will meet to discuss the proposals.

KCLSU is hosting an open meeting in Meeting Room 4, Boland House, on Monday 19 May at 5:30pm.

1 Comment

  1. Dan

    19 May, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    So what are the arguments for and against doing this? What is the financial imperative? Having worked in a few universities, I think the idea of ranking academics and getting rid of the lowest performing ones seems a pretty good idea.

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