Lecturers at the University of Sunderland are faced with threat of losing their jobs this summer. 

The university’s academic staff were sent an email on Tuesday breaking the news. 

Though voluntary redundancy packages are being prepared, it also seems that compulsory redundancies are likely.

At this point, it is unclear how many staff will face the sack. The job losses have been announced as part of a ‘restructuring’ exercise the university is engaged in. 

The email, from deputy vice chancellor Professor Michael Young and chief operating officer Steve Knight, said, “We recently realigned our professional and support structures as part of a cross-institutional review which reduced our staffing costs by circa £5 million.” 

“We now need to focus on ensuring that our faculty provision is aligned to our student numbers, income and planned future growth.”

“This will inevitably necessitate some reorganisation and restructuring within the faculties.”

“We are making a time-limited voluntary severance scheme available to staff which will provide us with an early opportunity to create a more sustainable staffing profile across all faculties.”

Any staff members considering taking up the offer of voluntary redundancy have until 5 pm on Friday 16th June to apply for it. Any employees who agree to take voluntary redundancy would then leave in August.

photo courtesy of Richard, from Flickr Creative Commons
Falling students numbers may be a cause of the job losses (photo courtesy of Richard, from Flickr Creative Commons)

One cause of the redundancies is thought to be falling student numbers. Student numbers dropped from almost 17,000 in 2009 to just under 13,000 in 2016.

A spokesperson for the University of Sunderland said, “Higher education is now an extremely competitive market place and while we are performing very well, we must continually realign our operation to ensure we remain as competitive as we are now.”

The news about the redundancies at the University of Sunderland is part of an increasingly gloomy picture of recent job losses on Wearside. BAE Systems recently announced there would be job losses at its Washington plant and pump manufacturer Grundfos has announced redundancies at its plant in Castletown.

(Featured image courtesy of Char, from Flickr Creative Commons)  

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