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  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

BREAKING: Most Languages staff to REMAIN at risk of redundancy

University Court reaffirms senior management proposals

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

Most lecturers in UoA's modern languages department will REMAIN at risk of redundancy, the University Court has decided.

Proposals by a group of staff and students were rejected during crunch meetings this afternoon.

A open letter signed by AUSA and the campus trade unions had asked members to remove the threat and support proposals made by language staff.

The letter noted: "Your community of students and staff calls upon you to accept [language staff] proposals, which will protect our language programmes for future generations, and ensure that our valuable staff in Modern Languages, Translation and Interpreting all retain their positions."

"We call upon Court to request that the ongoing threat of compulsory redundancies for staff in Modern Languages be lifted with all due haste."

These pleas seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

Court members instead chose to affirm plans put forward by senior management, which will see the streamlining of degree programmes and staff cuts within the department.

University management have stated that savings made through voluntary severance could remove the need for compulsory redundancies altogether.

A plateau in the number of international students enrollments resulted in a £15 million pound funding gap this autumn, promoting management to roll out the severance scheme across the University.

In a statement, a University spokesperson said: "The University’s governing body Court today reaffirmed that the University will continue to offer a full range of undergraduate Joint Honours degrees in Modern Languages, Translating & Interpreting, including Gaelic, together with taught and research postgraduate programme.

"Those are among the key outcomes following a review of Languages which also concluded that research in Modern Languages will continue to be supported. 

"While savings are needed, it is hoped that compulsory redundancies in Languages can be avoided if there is enough take-up of a scheme offering voluntary severance or enhanced retirement.

"Progress has already been made in this area, with staff in Gaelic being notified earlier this week that they are no longer at risk of redundancy.

"The review resulted in a strong set of proposals to strengthen recruitment to undergraduate degrees, which has been in decline in recent years, and to open up new income streams through recruitment to taught postgraduate programmes, growth in the number of PhD students, the development of further online courses, and through transnational education which will see students joining from overseas partners.

University Senior Vice Principal Karl Leydecker added: "I am pleased that our governing body has endorsed plans which will place Modern Languages including Gaelic on a firm financial and academic footing. I am grateful to the many staff and student representatives who have worked extensively to formulate the proposals."

At a public rally Monday evening, members of academic union UCU pledged to continue the fight if Court rejected proposals by languages staff.

Staff and students will now turn to the picket lines- with six days of strikes expected throughout March.

An emergency meeting of Student Council is expected to be held early next week.


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