A SCOTTISH university is seeking to shed staff amidst warnings over the difficult financial climate facing higher education.
Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), which posted a deficit in it most recent published accounts, is planning a severance scheme which all staff would be able to apply for.
Professor James Miller, the university’s deputy vice-chancellor, said the institution wanted to focus on growing priority areas.
In December last year Scottish university principals called for urgent talks over the future financial sustainability of their institutions after the Scottish Government cut the revenue budget for higher education by 1.3 per cent in cash terms.
In a letter to staff Mr Miller said said there was a need for “further significant change and accelerated progress” towards meeting GCU’s planning and budget priorities.
He added: “Our university mission, vision and values are clear. We need to play to our strengths in achieving the desired growth within a continually challenging external financial environment.
“In order to invest and grow in areas of academic strength and improve performance at a faster rate than we have achieved in the recent past, we are introducing a new scheme.”
Mr Miller said the scheme would enable staff to look at “the possibility of a mutually beneficial severance package” which, unlike the existing Voluntary Severance Scheme, would be open to all staff “not only those affected by organisational change”.
Under the university’s 2020 strategy it has ambitions to have a global reputation for delivering social benefit and “impact” through education, research and social innovation.
A key element is the university’s international strategy which has seen it develop campuses in London and New York, while also operating in Oman, Bangladesh and Africa.
Dr Nick McKerrell, convenor of Glasgow Caledonian combined union committee, said: “To announce another severance scheme at a time when the university management are prepared to invest on a venture in New York is ludicrous.
“Losing staff here in Glasgow will have a direct impact on students and the courses and the support we can offer. Meanwhile, at the same time, our senior managers are on eye-watering salaries.”
Last year, it was reported that Glasgow Caledonian had a £2.7m operating deficit in its 2015/16 accounts. The consolidated deficit was recorded as £5.1m.
Officials said the university, which has invested £32m in its Glasgow campus, remained in a strong and stable financial position.
Source : HeraldScotland