University of East Anglia Considers Reducing Staff Due to £13.9m Loss

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The University of East Anglia (UEA) in England, the United Kingdom, said it is considering staff reduction after experiencing serious financial problems.

In the 2021/22 academic year, the school reported a £13.9 million loss and said it was collaborating with campus trade unions in this regard, according to a BBC report.

UEA said the reasons behind the financial problems are the impact that COVID-19 had on universities, increasing costs, pay and pensions, the tuition fee freezes, and pressure on the number of students.

“The University has worked hard to safeguard roles by reducing non-pay related budgets, but this is no longer sustainable. Unfortunately, this means that it is unlikely all savings can be made without compulsory redundancies,” a spokesperson for the university told BBC.

Vice-chancellor of the university, David Richardson, said the university community should collaborate in these tough times to help the school improve financially for future success.

Meanwhile, Labour MP for Norwich South Clive Lewis said in a tweet that the university’s announcement about job cuts is “worrying” and indicated that he had offered help to the trade union for academic and academic-related staff at the University of East Anglia, as well as to the University and College Union, Erudera.com reports.

“This is a really worrying announcement for UEA staff and their families. I’ve already offered my support to the @UEA_UCU @ucu locally,” Lewis tweeted on Wednesday (January 18).

The University of East Anglia was established in 1963. A total of 3,712 persons are currently employed at the university while the school enrolls 16,872 students; 12,888 undergraduates, 3,984 postgraduates, and 2,820 international students.

The UK government has recently announced it will freeze tuition fees at universities in England for the sixth year in a row. In a statement issued on January 11, 2023, the government said tuition fees will be frozen at a maximum of £9,250 for two years, specifically in the 2023/24 and 2024/25 academic years.

“For the sixth year in a row, we have frozen tuition fees for a full-time undergraduate course at a maximum of £9,250 which will reduce the initial amount of debt students will take on,” Higher Education Minister Robert Halfon said while commenting the decision on the tuition fee freeze, also pointing out that the university recognizes students' financial struggles.

A large number of university staff members will hold a strike between February and March to oppose insecure employment, wages, and working conditions. The staff at 150 universities in the United Kingdom is expected to strike for 18 days during the next two months.

© GeoffMarkham | Pixabay

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